In a major reshuffle ahead of Manipur assembly bye-elections, Chief Minister N Biren Singh Thursday inducted five new faces in the council of ministers after removing six cabinet ministers.
Of the six ministers dropped, three were from BJP — Education Minister Th Radheshaym, Agriculture Minister V Hangkhanlien and Nemcha Kipgen, the only woman minister in the coalition government; two from its ally National People’s Party (NPP) — Health Minister L Jayantakumar and Tribal Affairs Minister N. Kayisii; and one from Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) — PD Minister Kara Shyam.
In a swearing-in ceremony, five new Cabinet ministers were inducted, including two MLAs who recently left the Congress to join BJP. One cabinet berth has been left open. One of the Congress MLAs is Okram Henry Singh, the nephew of former CM Okram Ibobi Singh.
Administered the oath of office to Shri S. Rajen, Shri V. Valte, Shri O. Lukhoi Singh, Shri Th. Satyabrata Singh and Shri O. Henry Singh as Ministers for the state of Manipur at Raj Bhavan Imphal. pic.twitter.com/9jaFHtFPx5
— Najma Heptulla (@nheptulla) September 24, 2020
CM Biren Singh said the sole objective of the reshuffle was the progress of Manipur while expressing his confidence that the government would be able to perform better with the rejig.
The reshuffle comes two days after Singh returned to Imphal from New Delhi accompanied by BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda. The CM had rushed to New Delhi on Monday along with Manipur BJP chief Saikhom Tikendra Singh to meet the BJP brass, including national president J P Nadda.
On leaving a cabinet berth vacant, BJP national vice-president Baijayant Panda said, “The BJP-led Manipur government has certain coalition partners. As such, the party will take the decision taking into account all the factors involved. We have bye-elections coming and we will see as we go along.”
Panda said the reshuffle would improve the stability of the government. “Within two years, we expect a railway project to happen and similarly, very large-scale projects for water and so many other things are being taken up for the development of the country and especially the Northeast,” he said.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has acknowledged five assembly constituencies (Wangoi, Wangjing Tentha, Lilong, Saitu and Singhat) due for bypolls among the 13 seats left vacant. The eight remaining constituencies will not go to polls due to pending election petition cases in the court.
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