Imphal, March 11 (IANS) After Arunachal Pradesh, it is now the turn of Manipur’s Congress Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh to face dissidence — with over 25 party legislators up in arms.
In the 2012 assembly polls, the Congress bagged 42 seats in the 60-member house, a record in Manipur.
The dissidents in the Congress have served an ultimatum to Ibobi Singh, asking them to either induct them in the ministry or face the music.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has summoned Ibobi Singh to New Delhi for discussions.
For months, the dissidents had been demanding a major reshuffle so that they could be inducted after dropping the present ministers.
This time the dissidents are understood to have hinted they may join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) if their demands were not conceded.
Said state BJP president Thounaojam Chaoba: “We have a long list of the Congress members who are seeking admission to the party. We may come out with the detailed list soon.”
Ibobi Singh has been in power for 14 long years, and Congress dissidents say the wind in the state now favours the BJP.
A dissident told IANS: “At the time of installing the last ministry, Ibobi Singh assured us that the present ministers will be in power for two and a half years, after which new faces will be inducted.
“This time, we may look for greener pastures. There is no charm remaining merely as legislators.”
Sonia Gandhi has reportedly taken a serious note of the demands of the dissidents, whose number is said to be increasing.
Most of them are camping in New Delhi seeking an audience with her.
A senior Manipur minister, however, told IANS that a major reshuffle was easier said than done.
According to him, there were some tribal ministers who cannot be replaced. Besides, there were 11 ministers excluding the chief minister, and it will be no easy task to select new ministers.
Manipur goes to the polls in February 2017.