N Biren Singh was sworn-in as the new chief minister of Manipur on Wednesday afternoon. Singh is leading the first ever BJP-led government in the state.
Singh took oath along with eight other ministers, who belong to BJP’s coalition partners in the state.
Y Joykumar of NPP has been designated as the Deputy Chief Minister. The other ministers were Th Biswajit Singh of BJP, L Jayantakumar Singh, L Haokip and N Kayisii of National People’s Party, L Dikho of Naga People’s Front and Karam Shyam of LJP. TH Shyamkumar, a Congress MLA who defected to the BJP, was also sworn in.
Governor Najma Heptulla administered the oath of office and secrecy.
BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were present at the swearing-in ceremony among others.
Soon after the swearing in ceremony, Prime Minister Modi congratulated Singh.
“Congratulations to Shri N Biren Singh and his team on taking oath. I am sure this team will work tirelessly towards Manipur’s development,” PM Modi tweeted.
The BJP has claimed support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member assembly. In the polls, BJP by itself had only managed 21 seats and the Congress 28. But the BJP managed to stitch together an alliance (32 MLAs) to stake claim to form government.
On Tuesday, Heptulla had invited Singh, who was unanimously elected the leader of the 21-member BJP legislature party to form the government.
The invitation to Singh came on a day when four members of the Naga People’s Front, an NDA ally, met the Governor and declared their support to BJP for government formation.
A BJP delegation had met the Governor on Sunday with 21 party MLAs besides four of NPP, and one legislator each of LJP, TMC and Congress.
The BJP had also claimed the support of the NPF and submitted a letter from the Naga People’s Front president pledging the party’s support to form the government.
After Goa, Manipur is the second state among the five where elections were held recently, where the BJP formed a government despite not being the single largest party.
Congress, which has 28 MLAs, led the tally. Okram Ibobi Singh, its Chief Minister for three consecutive terms, had resigned and staked claim to form the government, but numbers were on BJP’s side.
BJP has made a major foray into the North-East. It has its own government in Arunachal Pradesh, a coalition government in Assam, and now a coalition government in Manipur.
N Biren Singh, a former national-level football player, bagged the CM’s chair a year after revolting against the Ibobi Singh-led Congress government. Singh was a minister in Ibobi Singh governement but rebelled to join the BJP. The four-time MLA from Heingang Assembly seat had joined the BJP just last year.
(With inputs from PTI)