Biren, Biswajit in Delhi again for decision on CM

The two contenders for the post have been summoned by the party leadership twice in five days

March 19, 2022 09:34 pm | Updated 09:34 pm IST - GUWAHATI:

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. File

Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. File | Photo Credit: PTI

Manipur’s caretaker Chief Minister, Nongthombam Biren Singh and former Minister Thongam Biswajit flew to Delhi from State capital Imphal on Saturday for a possible end to the suspense on who will be the next CM.

This was the second time in five days that the BJP’s central leadership summoned them to Delhi.

BJP insiders said the two flew out of Imphal in separate flights, Mr. Biswajit landing in the national capital much ahead of Mr. Singh. They had on March 15 taken a chartered flight together with State BJP president Adhikarimayum Sharda and other party leaders, but returned to Imphal two days later in separate flights.

Ms. Sharda attributed the flight plans to the time factor and convenience of travel.

“The party leadership is scheduled to sit down with Mr. Singh and Mr. Biswajit late Saturday evening, possibly for deciding on the next CM. Whether the leadership will meet the two leaders together or separately is not known,” a BJP leader in Imphal said.

The BJP returned to power in Manipur by winning 32 Assembly seats, one more than the simple majority mark in the 60-member House.

A section in the BJP feels Mr. Singh should continue as the Chief Minister for leading the party to a comprehensive win. The other has rejected this argument, saying this was against the ethos of the party and would undermine the contribution of equally or more deserving leaders.

In terms of association with the party, Mr. Biswajit is Manipur’s senior most BJP legislator and is credited with planting the roots of the BJP deeper in the State. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP’s pointsman for the northeast, had acknowledged him for making the party what it is today in Manipur.

Mr. Singh said whatever decision the party leadership takes would stand Manipur in good stead. “Manipur awaits a colourful time along with the colourful festival,” Mr. Biswajit said after reaching Delhi. He was referring to Holi, called Yaoshang in Manipur. The visit of Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijuju, the BJP’s observers for the government formation in Manipur, was delayed due to the festival celebrated for five days in the State.

Meanwhile, three independent MLAs and those of some smaller parties have pledged their support to the BJP although it can form a government on its own, unlike in 2017. The National People’s Party, a former ally, is also keen on extending support.

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