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Political rumblings in galand reverberate in Manipur

FROM OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT

IMPHAL, January 7: The political rumblings in galand have reverberated in neighbouring Manipur where chief minister Okram Ibobi has been sticking to power with a quick fix political solution.

The ga People’s Front is an ally of the BJP at the state politics. It was a long term shot for the then chief minister Niephiu Rio to get elected since he and his associates were of the view that if elected he would get a ministerial berth.

However, for its own political exigency, the BJP has ignored the NPF at the tiol level. Zeliang was made the chief minister of galand to hold the fort. But the tribalism in the galand politics could not be overlooked. It is nothing surprising that serious moves are on to oust him. It remains to be seen in the coming days whether Zeliang can keep his boat steady by jettisoning some dissident ministers and expelling other MLAs.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has been the leader for the third consecutive term.  Some of them had been ministers in the past. In Manipur, a chief minister is allowed to have a council of 12 ministers. There are 48 Congress MLAs in the 60– member House. It means that most of them have to end the present term as mere MLAs.

Gauging their growing restlessness, the chief minister diplomatically assured one and all that he will reshuffle the ministry at the end of two and a half years so as to accommodate some of them. They reminded the chief minister of his assurance when he made no move to translate it into reality. Ibobi passed the bucks to the ministers making it clear that it is for them to come to an understanding with the aspirants.

There were several rounds of informal talks and it is not known what had transpired in these talks. However, the aspirants for the ministerial berths were not dissuaded by these ministers and on two occasions, the party high command had sent observers to feel the pulse. During his last visit, one observer reportedly told reporters that it is the Chief Minister on whom the reshuffle depends.  Happenings in neighbouring galand have invigorated them and they seem to have realised that it is not too late for them to make their present felt. Many of the Congress MLAs feel that they have not got what they had been assured.  In any case, if they become ministers even for a short time it will go a long way in winning the 2017 elections. Their rivals and detractors will gain upper hand during electioneering if they have to go to the voters as MLAs. These disturbing developments have caused restlessness among the ministers. Performances of some ministers are said to be below the mark. But as far as the Chief Minister is concerned, the political tug of war should be between the ministers and the dissident MLAs.

He is more worried with his plan to come back as the chief minister after the next elections. He is the only chief minister in the state, who could complete the first 5 years term.

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Ankur Kalita

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