The Congress Ministry led by Okram Ibobi was expanded on Saturday with the induction of eight more Ministers. In the 60-member House, a Chief Minister is allowed to have a council of 12 Ministers. Only Mr. Ibobi was sworn in on March 14. Two days later he inducted three Ministers.
However, all these days, he hasn't been able to make the second and final expansion, in view of intense political manoeuvrings. In the January 28 elections, the Congress bagged 42 seats in the 60-member House. This is a record, since no political party has secured such a landslide in Manipur.
Those who had lost in the run-up to the leadership tried to make sure that their supporters were made Ministers, as a long-term policy to oust Mr. Ibobi sooner than later.
Accordingly, Mr. Ibobi had to rush to Delhi several times to make the final list of Ministers, with the consultation of the high command. Those who were sworn in on Saturday are I. Hemochandra, a former Speaker, G. Konthoujam, M. Oken, Ngamthang Haokip, F. Ngajokpa, all former ministers, K. Ratan, A. Mirabai and Mohammad Nasir. Mirabai, a first-timer, is the only woman in the Congress Ministry.
Governor Gurbachan Jagat administered the oath of office and secrecy to the eight Ministers.