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BJP Steals a March Over Congress, Names Biren Singh as CM Designate in Manipur

Amid the ongoing tussle for power in Manipur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday named N Biren Singh as its CM candidate for the hill state.

Updated:March 13, 2017, 11:59 PM IST

New Delhi: Amid the ongoing tussle for power in Manipur, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday named Nongthombam Biren Singh as its CM candidate for the hill state.

Singh, an MLA from Heingang Constituency, will be the BJP's first Chief Minister in Manipur.

"Nongthombam Biren Singh was on Monday elected as the legislature party leader in Manipur and he will be party's chief ministerial candidate", said Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal.

With 21 seats in the kitty, the BJP needed the support of almost all the non-Congress MLAs. Between Ram Madhav and Himanta Biswa Sarma, they managed just that. The Naga People's Front (NPF) had already said they would support a non-Congress government. Sangma's National People's Party (NPP) came in with all four MLAs, so did the lone MLAs from the LJP and the Trinamool Congress. And finally, when the BJP leadership drove in to meet the Governor, seen in Himanta’s car was the Congress MLA from Andro constituency, Shyamkumar Singh. He later said many more Congress MLAs were willing to cross over.

Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh said he would resign by Tuesday to facilitate the process of government formation in the state which has got a hung Assembly following the just-concluded elections. "I will resign by tomorrow to facilitate the process of government formation," he told reporters in Manipur.

Manipur Governor Najma Heptullah had earlier said that she could start the process of government formation once the incumbent chief minister resigned.

ALSO READ: Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla Asks CM O Ibobi Singh to Submit Resignation

Ibobi Singh, however, has been arguing that with the Congress emerging as the single largest party, he should be given the first opportunity to form the government. "I am ready for a floor test and I have the numberswith me," said Singh.

The fine art of horse-trading which was once perfected by the Congress has come to haunt them again. In both Manipur and Goa, the Congress emerged as the single-largest party but is losing out to the BJP in the numbers game.

ALSO READ: It's Game, Set and Match for the BJP in Manipur. Next Stop, Meghalaya

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