BJP's Nongthombam Biren set to be new Manipur CM

 13 Mar 2017 - 18:05


Imphal: Former editor and minister Nongthombam Biren was on Monday unanimously elected as the BJP legislature party leader in Manipur, and will stake claim to form the next ministry, the party said.

The election was held under the supervision of Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar and Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal here.

His name was proposed by Thongam Bishwajit, MLA and seconded by Radheshyam, Nemcha Haokip and some others.

All the 21 BJP MLAs were present in the crucial meeting.

Earlier, Bishwajit was one of the contenders. But he later withdrew to choose Biren unanimously.

Biren will be meeting Governor Najma Heptulla to stake his claim to form the next ministry.

The Bharatiya Janata Party now has the support of 32 members in the 60-member Assembly.

Biren had been editor of Maharolgi Thoudang, a vernacular daily. Later he joined politics and got elected from his Heingang constituency. He had been a cabinet minister in the Congress government for over 10 years holding important portfolios.

He had resigned from the membership of the House and the primary membership of the Congress party last year and joined the BJP.

He got elected from Heingang in the March elections.

Biren told IANS that people had voted against corruption and atrocities, including fake encounters.

"Our government shall probe various corruptions and book those guilty of fake encounters. We are thankful to the people for voting us to power and we will not let down the people," Biren said.

He was one of the Congress ministers who were critical of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh who had faced ouster campaigns.

In another development, Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh, in a sudden turn-around, on Monday evening announced that he will tender resignation within 24 hours.

Governor Heptulla had instructed him to resign so that she could proceed with the conduct of the swearing in ceremony for the next Chief Minister. Ibobi had been refusing to resign pointing out that he enjoys majority support.

However, he has been unable to cobble up support. He claimed to enjoy the support of the four MLAs of the National People's Party on the basis of a letter he got from the party soon after the declaration of the assembly results. He may use the next 24 hours to fight a last ditch battle to woo other MLAs.

However, Vivekraj Wangkhem, general secretary of the NPP said: "There have been changes. We have decided to support the BJP. This is final. There is no question of our party supporting the Congress even if Ibobi is given a chance."

Heptulla had pointed out to Ibobi that just a letter of support would not suffice and insisted on the physical presence of the four NPP MLAs.