Nipamacha joins hands with Laloo

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Imphal
  • Published 27.06.05
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Imphal, June 27: Former Manipur chief minister, Wahengbam Nipamacha Singh is poised to spring back to the state?s political centrestage with his fledgling party merging with the Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Manipur National Conference (MNC), formed by Nipamacha Singh before the last Assembly election, has merged with railway minister Laloo Prasad Yadav?s RJD. The former Manipur chief minister has been appointed president of the RJD?s state unit.

An MNC source said the RJD?s national executive meeting in Patna on June 20 and 21 decided to allow the Manipur party to merge with it. The RJD national general secretary, Ram Deo Bhandari, wrote to the MNC to inform it of the appointment of Nipamacha Singh as the president.

Nipamacha Singh came to political limelight after he dethroned Rishang Keishing?s Congress ministry in December 1997. At that time he was the Speaker of the Assembly. Nipamacha split the party to form Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP) and captured power. However, Nipamacha?s downfall began after his government was ousted by Radhabinod Koijam, who cobbled up splinter groups to foist a new ministry in February 2001. This was followed by the formation of another new party called Manipur National Conference by Nipamacha Singh.

Nipamacha?s defeat was complete when he lost his seat in the 2002 Assembly election and the new party could bag only one seat. The lone MLA, S. Natum Singh, joined the Ibobi Singh-led Secular Progressive Front (SPF) ministry.

However, it did not take long before the minister was dropped. The MNC, subsequently, decided to sit in the Opposition. Since then, the former chief minister has been in political wilderness.

But now, as the state unit of RJD, the party is toying with the idea of extending support to Ibobi Singh?s government once again. ?Since the RJD is a major constituent of the UPA government at the Centre, the state unit might extend support to the SPF government here. Our party?s supporting the SPF coalition, however, has nothing to do with ministerial berth,? Natum Singh said.

Giving reasons behind the party?s joining with RJD, Nipamacha Singh said his group had full confidence in the leadership of Laloo. ?Lalooji is a man of his word, a man of action and above all, a champion of the masses. Therefore, we are confidant that as the state unit of the RJD, our party can now work better for the welfare of the people,? Nipamacha Singh said.

The party made it clear that it would be sparing no efforts to take political centrestage in the next state Assembly elections, due in 2007.