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Ibobi all set for second term as Chief Minister

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AT THE HELM AGAIN: Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh (centre) after he was elected new Congress Legislature Party leader, in Imphal on Wednesday. Oscar Fernandes, who is in charge of the party in the State, is at left.
AT THE HELM AGAIN: Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh (centre) after he was elected new Congress Legislature Party leader, in Imphal on Wednesday. Oscar Fernandes, who is in charge of the party in the State, is at left.

Sushanta Talukdar

Unanimously re-elected leader of the Manipur Congress Legislature Party

IMPHAL: Okram Ibobi Singh is all set to return as Manipur's Chief Minister for a second successive term.

Mr. Ibobi the first Chief Minister of the State to have completed a full five-year term in office was unanimously re-elected leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Wednesday. He is all set to call on the Governor to stake claim to form the new government.

Mr. Singh's name was proposed by State unit president and MLA from the Nungba constituency Gaikhangam and seconded by Th. Debendra (Jiribam constituency) and Phungzathang Tonsing (Churachandpur constituency). The CLP meeting was attended by Union Minister and AICC general secretary, who is in charge of the northeast, Oscar Fernandes, and AICC general secretary Maj. (retd.) Ved Prakash.

Addressing a press conference after the meeting, Mr. Ibobi said the new government would be constituted in a day or two after the party high command decides on the offer of unconditional support by political parties.

CPI stand

The CPI, a partner in the outgoing Congress-led Secular Progressive Front, is yet to make public its stand. However, Mr. Singh said the CPI had expressed its willingness to extend support though the two parties contested against each other in the elections. The Congress won 30 seats, one short of majority, while the CPI got four.

Sangma's offer

Earlier in the day, Nationalist Congress Party general secretary Purno A Sangma told The Hindu that his party would definitely consider joining or supporting the government if the Congress sought its support. The NCP won five seats, while the RJD and the National People's Party won three each.

Mr. Singh said the new government would try to translate the commitments made by the Congress in its poll manifesto into action. He thanked the people for reposing their faith and confidence in the Congress.

On what would be the new government's stand on the demand for repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, he said his party too did not favour continuation of AFSPA. The Government had withdrawn the disturbed area tag from seven Assembly segments. The Act would automatically lapse from the entire State when normality returned.

Peace talks

Asked to comment on the fate of peace talks with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah), with Congress president Sonia Gandhi having reiterated during electioneering her party's commitment to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur, Mr. Fernandes, the Centre's emissary for the peace talks, said there would be progress in the process once he returned to Delhi. Talks were on, but details could be revealed only after the two sides arrived at a conclusion.


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