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The Lure of Power

As an NDA ally, it was but natural for JD-U MLAs to support the BJP-led government in Manipur. But, was JD-U technically a part of the BJP-led government?

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 1 Sept 2022, 6:45 am

(Representational Image: Unsplash)
(Representational Image: Unsplash)

 

The other day, when Manipur Janata Dal-United chief Ksh Biren made an announcement that the party has decided to pull out of the coalition government led by BJP’s N Biren Singh, many were asking whether JD-U was technically a part of the BJP-led government here.

As far as we understand, when N Biren Singh was sworn in as Chief Minister for the second time they unilaterally pledged their support to the new government. The BJP got a comfortable majority with 32 seats in the 60-member state legislative assembly while the main challenger Congress party ended with a dismal performance of five seats. The remaining 23 seats were divided among the Naga Peoples Front (NPF), Conrad K Sangma-led National People’s Party (NPP), the Janata Dal-United, newly formed Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) and a few independents. BJP chose to form the government along with former ally NPF while the others pledged their support in the form of letters to the Governor.

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As an NDA ally, it was but natural for JD-U MLAs to support the BJP government here also. And when JD-U chief and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar parted ways with the BJP and formed a new government in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on August 10, it should have been natural for the JD-U MLAs to leave the alliance here also. Yet, Manipur JD-U waited for about 20 days to announce their decision of leaving the alliance.

Also Read: JD-U candidate arrested; WY tablets worth Rs 4.4 crore seized

When N Biren Singh was sworn in as Chief Minister for the second time on March 21, everyone including JD-U was waiting in the wings to be invited in the government formation. Even NPP was expecting something despite the bitter campaign.

However, the BJP had the luxury of choosing from among the many. And it chose NPF, which got a representation of two ministers in the 12-member Council of Ministers, while the rest except the Congress remained docile members of the so-called ruling alliance. In the last decade or so, politics has taken a sharp turn and nobody wants to be on the wrong side of the fence or to antagonise the one who holds the purse-strings of development activities.

We have seen in N Biren Singh’s last term how he has been able to steer his government for a full term despite the push and pulls of coalition politics and the threat of disqualification hanging over the necks of supporters and defectors like a Damocles sword. Even if Deputy CM Y Joykumar of NPP was in-charge of Finance, his powers were limited and the Chief Minister has the last word in everything.

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However, the BJP had an uneasy relationship with NPP all through the term. There was an occasion when the Chief Minister had to clip the wings of his deputy Y Joykumar by taking away major portfolios, including Finance from him. In another instance, just before the Rajya Sabha elections, the NPP switched sides and aligned itself with the opposition Congress.

However, Chief Minister N Biren Singh with his political adroitness managed a win for the BJP candidate Maharaj Leishemba Sanajaoba in the Rajya Sabha. Later, when the NPP returned to the alliance, two of its ministers were axed.

Although the NPP managed to win seven seats in the 12th state assembly elections, an increase of three from last elections, two of its tall leaders - former Deputy CM Y Joykumar and former Health Minister L Jayantakumar was defeated. The BJP had successfully poached one of its ministers Letpao Haokip, who left Chandel constituency and contested from neighbouring Tengnoupal assembly constituency and won. Now, the NPP had recently announced that it will not have any truck with other parties including the BJP in the ensuing assembly elections of Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura. No one knows, how long will this love-hate relationship between BJP and NPP would last.

—Editorial

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Tags:

NPPmanipur governmentBJPNDAJD-Upolitical power

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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