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Lonely at the top

IFP Editorial: CM Biren's work in the last five years paid off, but going by the political grapevine, all is not well within the BJP.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 20 Jul 2022, 3:29 am

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Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh has once again shown his skill in political manoeuvring as he gathered a sizeable number to vote for the NDA candidate Draupadi Murmu in the Presidential elections held recently. Next comes the elections for the post of Vice President in which BJP is projecting West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s nemesis and former Governor JagdeepDhankar as the NDA candidate.

CM Biren Singh is expecting a total of 55 votes for Murmu in the 60-member Manipur Legislative Assembly. Besides the vote of 32 BJP MLAs, including himself and partner in the government, Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF)’s five MLAs, he is counting on the votes of former ally NPP and new friends JDU, Kuki Peoples Alliance (KPA) and three  independents.

BJP got absolute majority with 32 seats in the 60-member Manipur legislative assembly. The once powerful Congress party was reduced to a single digit figure of five, while BJP ally in the preceding government NPP emerged as the second largest party with seven seats though its leader YumnamJoykumar lost his seat.

BJP’s other ally NPF got five seats, increasing its tally by one from last assembly elections while JD-U and the KPA got six and two respectively besides three independents.

Meanwhile NPF has once again become a partner in government formation, JDU and KPA besides two independents have pledged their support to the BJP government.

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In the present circumstances of development funds and goodwill of the chief minister, it is always easy to lure the non-Congress MLAs and cobble together the required numbers. It was not that easy in the earlier term when he had to please everyone individually to keep them in good humour, as the BJP-led government had to rely on its allies who are out to extract their pound of flesh besides the demands of the ‘friends’ in the Congress.

Now that the BJP has a comfortable majority with 32 seats, the perennial threat of political turmoil has been lessened to some extent. However, internal strife still remains. In spite of the comfortable majority and support from other parties, it took 10 days for BJP to pin down the next leader.

It was not exactly a cakewalk for N Biren Singh in retaining the CM post once again and he had to visit New Delhi twice after the election results. His work in the last five years paid off.

The day Prime Minister NarendraModi granted him an audience in Parliament amidst the intense jostle for leadership, many were certain that N Biren was coming back again with Modi’s blessings. However, it did not deter the contenders and then Union Home Minister Amit Shah had to put all speculations at rest.

The three contenders Bishwajit, Khemchand and Govindas were also sworn in as ministers along with Chief Minister N Biren Singh. Now, the game will begin once again and one has to wait and see how N Biren Singh handles or manages these three challengers in the days to come.

Following the political grapevine, all is not well within the BJP. Out of 32 BJP MLAs elected in the 2022 state assembly elections, only 10 have been allotted ministership, including the chief minister while its ally NPF had been given two posts of ministers.

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While former minister and Yaiskul MLA ThokchomSatyabarta Singh has been elected as Speaker, another BJP MLA DiganglungGangmei has been made the chairman of Hill Areas Committee.

To assuage hurt feelings of not being included in the Council of Ministers, recently 10 BJP MLAs were appointed as chairman of some autonomous corporations and bodies. There are still 10 MLAs who are still frustrated and disappointed and mind you, they have to explain to their constituents as to why they were left out.

People in the constituencies expect their representatives to become ministers and if they are not included in the Council of Ministers, a chairmanship is still expected. So, the fate of anybody left out hangs in the balance. And the pressure on the chief minister is omnipresent.

In trying to please everyone and keep the delicate balance of internal politics in check, he has no friends but a lonely man at the top.

 

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First published:19 Jul 2022, 3:26 pm

Tags:

CM birenmanipur politicsmanipur government

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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