Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh will initiate a cabinet reshuffle on Wednesday. He is expected to drop five-six ministers and induct new faces in his 12-member cabinet, sources said.
Biren was in New Delhi on Monday, accompanied by Manipur BJP chief Saikhom Tikendra Singh, and met central BJP leaders including national president J P Nadda, national general secretary B L Santosh, national general secretary Ram Madhav, national vice-president and central observer Baijayant Panda and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. BJP sources said Panda has arrived in Imphal, along with the CM, to see the transition through. Three BJP ministers would be asked to resign on Tuesday night, it was learnt.
Th Biswajit Singh is expected to retain his ministerial portfolio, but three ministers from his camp are likely to be dropped. Biswajit was a contender for chief ministership, along with Biren, after the 2017 Assembly elections. After Biren bagged the top post, the two have shared an uneasy relationship. Of the four ministers of Conrad Sangma’s National People’s Party, two will be dropped, said sources. The decision is believed to have been communicated to Sangma.
The NPP, led by Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar, another Biren detractor, had pulled out of the government days before the Rajya Sabha election this year to back the Congress. The NPP has been a vital ally of the BJP in Manipur, which by itself did not have the numbers to form the government. However, the relationship between Joykumar and Biren has soured.
“When they learn that two ministers will be dropped, all four NPP ministers may pull out. There are two reasons for dropping these ministers. First is non-performance. They did not give adequate support to the CM in running the government. Secondly, all those being dropped are those who tried to destabilise the government,” said a state BJP leader.
In their place, two former Congress faces — Okram Ibobi Singh’s nephew Okram Henry Singh from Wangkhei and Oinam Lukhoi Singh from Wangoi — are expected to be inducted in the cabinet.
Three fresh BJP faces will also find place in the cabinet, including Speaker Yumnam Khemchand Singh, sources said.
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