Manipur: N. Biren Singh takes oath as CM, picks experienced team
N. Biren Singh took oath as the chief minister of Manipur for the second time in a row on Monday, a day after he was unanimously elected leader of the BJP’s legislature party.
The swearing-in, held at the Raj Bhavan in Imphal, also saw five MLAs take oath as ministers, all of them, barring one, possessing ministerial experience. Four of the ministers are from the BJP and one from the Naga People’s Front (NPF).
Those making it to the 12-member council of ministers included BJP’s Thongam Biswajit Singh, Yumnam Khemchand, Govindas Konthoujam Singh and Nemcha Kipgen and NPF’s Awangbow Newmai.
Newmai was a minister in the previous government led by Singh, who had said on March 10 that the NPF, which had contested the polls on its own, would be part of the government despite the ruling party winning a majority (32) on its own in a House of 60.
The NPF (5), like the Janata Dal (6), the Kuki People’s Alliance (2) and two Independents, has extended “unconditional” support to the BJP.
Keeping the NPF in the government would further bridge the hill-valley divide, BJP insiders said.
Govindas, a seven-time MLA, is a former Manipur PCC president and had joined the BJP in August last year, dealing a serious blow to the principal Opposition party which could win only five seats in the recently-concluded Assembly polls. Govindas was also a minister in the erstwhile Congress government.
Khemchand is the new face in the cabinet while Kipgen the only woman in the cabinet till now. Khemchand was the Speaker in the last term.
BJP state unit’s senior spokesperson M. Asnikumar Singh said the swearing-in was attended by national president J.P. Nadda and the chief ministers of Assam and Tripura, state unit president A. Sharda Devi and other senior leaders.
Soon after the swearing-in, Singh held a meeting with senior leaders at the BJP headquarters in Imphal, he said.
Manipur governor La Ganesan administered the oath of office and secrecy to Singh and the ministers.
The 1961-born and five-time MLA, Singh in his first interaction with the media after the swearing-in, said he would strive to provide a corruption-free, drugs-free Manipur.
“I will also try to bring the rebel groups to the negotiating table,” he said, reminding everyone of his pre-poll pledge to continue working towards a developed and peaceful Manipur.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who congratulated Singh.
Congratulations to Shri @NBirenSingh Ji on being sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Manipur. I am confident his team and he would take Manipur to newer heights of progress and continue the good work done in the last five years.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 21, 2022
He tweeted, “Congratulations to Shri @NBirenSingh Ji on being sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Manipur. I am confident his team and he would take Manipur to newer heights of progress and continue the good work done in the last five years.”