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BJP gets its first govt in Manipur, Biren Singh sworn in as CM

Biren Singh is all set to take oath as first BJP CM in Manipur today after Governor Najma Heptulla invited him to form government.

India TV Politics Desk, Imphal [Updated:15 Mar 2017, 5:19 PM IST]
Biren Singh takes charge as the new CM of Manipur.
Biren Singh takes charge as the new CM of Manipur.Photo:ANI

In a historic moment for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nongthombam Biren Singh today sworn in its first Chief Minister in Manipur today after Governor Najma Heptulla invited him to form government in the North Eastern state. 

NPP's Y. Joykumar sworn in as the Deputy Chief Minister of Manipur. 

BJP President Amit Shah and Union Minister Jitendra Singh were present in the swearing-in ceremony in Imphal tomorrow, sources said. Jitendra Singh holds independent charge of Development of North Eastern Region in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet. 

In a fractured mandate, the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 28 MLAs in 60-member Assembly but BJP, which won 21 seats, stole the march by roping in the support of regional parties. 

Naga People's Front (NPF) and National People's Party (NPP) legislators won four seats each while Lok Janshakti Party and Trinamool Congress bagged one seat each.  

Four NPF MLAs on Tuesday met Governor Najma Heptulla and extended their support to the BJP for formation of the new government in the state. 

"Four NPF MLAs met the Governor and extended their support to the BJP for government formation," a Raj Bhavan source told PTI.

While the NPF is a constituent of the NDA, four NPP legislators had extended their support to the BJP earlier.  The BJP has claimed that it enjoyed the support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly. 

A BJP delegation had met the Governor on Sunday with 21 party MLAs besides 4 NPP MLAs, one LJP and TMC MLA and a Congress MLA. 

BJP had also claimed that they have the support of the NPF and also submitted a letter from the NPF president pledging their support to the BJP to form the government. 

Raj Bhavan sources had earlier said that the Governor wanted to meet the NPF MLAs and verify on her own as to whom they are supporting in the formation of the next government in the hung Manipur Assembly. 

Meanwhile, four NPF MLAs have demanded ministerial berths in the council of Biren Singh.

On Monday, the Manipur unit NPF president Awangbung Newmai wrote an official letter to the BJP president in Manipur listing out the demands.

"As per resolutions of the March 13 meeting of the Manipur unit of the NPF its four MLAs should be inducted in the council of ministers," the letter said.

After Goa, Manipur would be the second state among the five where elections were held recently where the BJP would form a government despite not being the single largest party by cobbling together a post-poll alliance. 

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 runs a coalition government in Assam and has its own government in Arunachal Pradesh crafted through defection. 

Najma Heptul defends decision to invite BJP 

Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla has justified her decision to invite BJP to form the government in the north-eastern state by stating that the party has the requisite numbers. 

On Congress's contention that she should have first invited the party to form the government since it emerged as the single largest party after the state Assembly election, Heptulla told reporters, "I do not know what allegations they are making. I am a straight-forward person. I go by the book. I know the rules and regulations." 

"BJP has the requisite numbers. They are more than 30. It will be helpful for Manipur," she said. 

Clarifying her position on the matter further, the Governor said, "My 37 years in Parliament and 17 years in the Chair (as Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman)... when I was a member of the Congress party, I had to work with non-Congress governments, including Janata government, BJP and many others. I had to work with at least five different prime ministers and nobody ever made an allegation that I did something wrong." 

"For Manipur we need lots of development, lots of jobs and I feel that it is very necessary that we should have stability in the state," she said. 

On being quizzed regarding the number of ministers who will take oath, Heptulla said, "The list will come to me."