BJP’s Nongthombam Biren Singh set to be new Manipur chief minister

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on March 13 announced the name of Nongthombam Biren Singh as its chief ministerial pick for the state of Manipur.

“BJP’s legislature party leader will be N Biren Singh; we will soon move to stake claim to form the government, Union minister Piyush Goel told news agency ANI.

BJP submitted a list of 32 MLAs — claiming a majority of two in Manipur’s 60-member assembly — to governor Najma Heptullah on March 12 and furnished letters of support from regional parties.

BJP, which won 21 seats, claimed the support of National People’s Party (4 MLAs), Naga People’s Front (4), LJP (1) and two others — lone independent Ashab Uddin and T Robindro Singh, who was elected on a Trinamool ticket. CM Ibobi Singh too met the governor and staked his claim.

Nongthombam Biren Singh won from Heingang defeating Trinamool Congress’ Pangeijam Saratchandra Singh.

A national football player-turned journalist-turned-politician, 56-year-old Nongthmobam Biren Singh was chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s most trusted lieutenant before he parted ways with Congress to join BJP last year.

He began his political career in 2002 when he was elected to the 8th Manipur Legislative Assembly from his home constituency, Heingang, as a Democratic Revolutionary Peoples Party candidate.

Singh made his debut as a minister in the state in 2003 when was appointed minister of state for vigilance. He later became vice president of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee after he led a subtle dissidence against Ibobi five years ago and asked for a leadership change in the state.

In the just concluded election, the BJP got 36.3 per cent of valid votes while the Congress secured 35.1 per cent.

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