Biren, Biswajit rush to Delhi again for talks on govt formation in Manipur

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Within five days, caretaker Chief Minister N. Biren Singh and another contender for the top post Thongam Biswajit Singh on Saturday rushed to Delhi after the BJP central leaders called them to discuss the name of next Manipur Chief Minister and formation of government.

Biren Singh, Biswajit Singh along with BJP state President Adhikarimayum Sharda Devi on Tuesday went to Delhi in a chartered flight to discuss the leadership issue with the central leaders of the BJP and returned to Imphal on Thursday.

Party sources said in Imphal that two top BJP leaders (Biren Singh and Biswajit Singh) went to Delhi in separate flights on Saturday.

Sharda Devi said in Imphal that after the Holi festival, the name of the BJP legislature party leader would be finalised.

“During our stay in Delhi, we have discussed the outcome of the recent assembly elections with the central leaders. I have no communication about the next leader of the legislature party,” she told the media here.

Both Biren Singh and Biswajit Singh, also separately expressing their anguish over the speculative news in the various media about the new Chief Minister, earlier had said that the leadership issue was not discussed in Delhi.

Biswajit Singh had said: “Important budget session of Parliament is going on and the people are in a Holi celebration mood. So after that the Central leaders and observers would take the decision on the leadership at an appropriate time.”

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Union Law and Justice Minister Kiren Rijiju, who were earlier appointed as central observers, are likely to come to Imphal early next week to hold discussions with other BJP MLAs and leaders to finalise the name of the legislature party leader, state BJP leaders said on Saturday.

While Biren Singh, a former Congress leader, joined the BJP in October 2016, Biswajit Singh was the second-in-command in the outgoing BJP government after the Chief Minister and has been in the party for longer than Biren Singh.

Biswajit Singh was the lone BJP MLA in Manipur in 2015, two years before the saffron party wrested power in the northeastern state for the first time, defeating the Congress which had governed the state for many years including three consecutive terms (15 years) from 2002 to 2017.

The BJP in the recent assembly polls has secured a thin majority of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

The BJP’s erstwhile ally, the National People’s Party, secured seven seats while the Janata Dal (United) won six seats, and the Congress and the Naga People Front bagged five seats each.

The Kuki People’s Alliance, a newly floated tribal based party, managed to win two seats while three Independent candidates also got elected to the Assembly.

The NPF, the JD (U) and an Independent member have announced their support to the BJP government.

Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP supremo Conrad K. Sangma had also said that his party is ready to join the BJP-led government in Manipur if the dominant party in the alliance invites them.

The NPP, the estranged ally of the BJP in Manipur, had fielded 38 candidates and fought the recent Assembly elections separately and won seven seats.

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