New Delhi: Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh of the BJP will restore the portfolios of his deputy, National People’s Party leader Y. Joykumar Singh, as part of the understanding reached between Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the NPP delegation led by its national president and CM of the neighbouring Meghalaya, Conrad Sangma, Wednesday.
In what could undermine the authority of Biren Singh, the four NPP ministers who reversed their decision to withdraw support from the BJP-led government after meeting Amit Shah will now be in direct contact with the central leadership of the BJP.
“A process will be initiated wherein there will be a complete overhaul of the functioning of the chief minister’s office. At the same time the NPP ministers and MLAs will also be in direct touch with the central leadership of the BJP for which a channel has been created,” Conrad Sangma told ThePrint.
“We want political stability for Manipur, which is why a decision was taken to be with the BJP government,” the Meghalaya CM said.
An NPP delegation led by Sangma and including Joykumar Singh had met Amit Shah as well as BJP president J.P. Nadda Wednesday. Joykumar Singh had been stripped of his portfolios in April this year.
Many had attributed the political crisis to resentment against Manipur CM Biren Singh’s perceived “one-man style of functioning”. Local leaders had also approached PM Narendra Modi and former BJP chief Amit Shah for his removal, ThePrint had reported earlier.
Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma, also said many changes are expected in the overall functioning of the Manipur government.
“We are expecting a complete overhaul and have been assured that the deputy CM will be given key portfolios,” he added.
Why BJP central leadership got involved
The central leadership of the BJP had to take the matter in its own hands after the party’s Manipur leadership was unable to resolve the political crisis stemming from the withdrawal of support by ally NPP. A total of nine ruling coalition members had resigned.
Sangma said everyone had to prioritise the Covid-19 crisis, which is why the political issues could not be resolved earlier. “But the political situation in Manipur remained an important issue,” he said.
The Meghalaya CM added: “There is no doubt that this has been going on for quite some time. The concerns raised by our ministers and MLAs who resigned were genuine. All the issues were taken up in the meeting with the Union Home Minister, and they were given a patient hearing.”
He also said the matter was escalated to the level of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“The home minister had a meeting regarding this with the PM too, though we were not able to meet him. But after a detailed discussion with the home minister, they gave us a strong commitment and assurances that things will be fine now, and keeping the interest of the state in mind, we decided to extend support again,” Sangma said.