Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijiju congratulating Nongthombam Biren Singh, who was elected as Manipur BJP legislature party leader, in Imphal on Sunday, March 20, 2022 (IANS)

Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijiju congratulating Nongthombam Biren Singh, who was elected as Manipur BJP legislature party leader, in Imphal on Sunday, March 20, 2022 (IANS)

Biren Singh to be Manipur Chief Minister again

Imphal, March 20, 2022

Nongthombam Biren Singh, who was elected as BJP legislature party leader on Sunday, is likely to take oath and assume office as Chief Minister for the second consecutive term within the next two to three days, party sources said.

Soon after being elected as the BJP legislature party leader, Singh along with the central ministers and observers, met Governor La Ganesan at the Raj Bhavan here, and staked claim for forming the next government.

Before Singh's meeting with the Governor, BJP's central observer and Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that Biren Singh had been unanimously re-elected the BJP legislature party leader.

Sitharaman, accompanied by co-observer Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju, Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra held a nearly two-hour- long meeting with the BJP's newly elected MLAs in Imphal.

Sitharaman, Rijiju, Yadav, Patra, state BJP president Adhikarimayum Sharda Devi and other leaders congratulated Biren Singh and presented him bouquets.

For 10 days after declarations of the Assembly election results on March 10, the BJP held a series of hectic parleys in Imphal and in the national capital, before announcing Biren Singh would remain as the Chief Minister.

Minister and influential BJP leader Thongam Biswajit Singh was also a strong contender for the top post.

Biren Singh later tweeted: "Immensely grateful to PM Narendra Modi and party President J P Nadda for entrusting me to serve as the Leader of the Legislative Party. I thank each and every 'karyakarta' of BJP Manipur for their tireless efforts in bringing a BJP Govt today."

Sitharaman later told the media that it was a good decision taken unanimously, which would ensure that Manipur has a stable and responsible government.

"The Centre, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gives special attention to the north-eastern states. The BJP government would work for the welfare and betterment of all people of Manipur," she said.

Biren Singh, Biswajit Singh, former assembly Speaker Yumnam Khemchand Singh, the third contender for the top post, along with state BJP President, went to Delhi twice within a week and held a series of meetings there with the BJP's central leaders to discuss the name of next Manipur Chief Minister and formation of government.

On Saturday night, the state leaders held a marathon meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Nadda and other central leaders in Delhi and discussed about the government formations.

The BJP has secured a thin majority of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

BJP sources said that the former football player and journalist-turned-politician, Singh, 61, would take oath and assume office as the new Chief Minister within the next two to three days.

Ministers of Singh's new cabinet will also likely take oath in the swearing-in-ceremony. Biren Singh, a former Congress leader, joined the BJP in October 2016, and in the February-March assembly elections, won from his traditional Heingang constituency for the record 5th time.

A 1981-batch arts graduate from Manipur University, Biren Singh was born at Luwangsangbam Mamang Leikai in Imphal.

He was a football player who later got recruited in the Border Security Force (BSF), and played for the BSF team in domestic competitions.

After quitting from BSF, despite having no experience, he began a vernacular daily, "Naharolgi Thoudang" in 1992 and worked as its editor till 2001 before he joined the active politics in 2002.

In 2002, he won his first electoral battle from Manipur's Heingang assembly constituency as a candidate of the Democratic Revolutionary People's Party. He retained the seat in 2007 on a Congress ticket and served as a minister till 2012.

Four years later, he joined the BJP and in 2017, he won from the same assembly constituency again and led the first BJP government since 2017.

In the 2017 polls, although the BJP had won only 21 seats, it secured support from the other parties and independents including four National People's Party and four Naga People's Front MLAs, and formed the first BJP-led coalition government.

IANS

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