Imphal: Amidst the country's all-out battle against the spread of Covid-19, in a major political development in the BJP ruled Manipur on Thursday, the state's Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar Singh was stripped of all his portfolios after four ministers of NPP were asked to quit from the saffron party-led alliance government.
A notification issued by Chief Secretary J Suresh Babu said Y Joykumar Singh has been made a minister without portfolio.
The notification, which is available with IANS, said Joykumar's portfolios -- Municipal Administration, Housing and Urban Development, Forest, Environment and Climate Change, Science and Technology, Economics and Statists -- have been reallocated by Governor Najma Heptulla to Chief Minister N. Biren Singh.
Earlier on Thursday, BJP leaders had asked its ally National People's Party's (NPP) ministers to leave the council of ministry because of the "irresponsible and derogatory remarks Joykumar had reportedly made against the Chief Minister."
According to the media reports, Joykumar, a former Director General of Manipur Police, had reportedly made some offensive comments against Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, when some women met the former to complain about not receiving ration of rice due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing lockdown.
The leaders of the NPP, which has four MLAs, including Joykumar, in the 60-member Manipur Assembly, are yet to make any public reactions on the sudden political development.
In the 2017 Assembly elections in Manipur, the Congress had won 28 seats and the BJP got 21. However, the BJP allied with NPP, Naga People's Front and others to form a coalition government.
The latest development is likely to have a political fallout since several MLAs of the BJP and its allies have been demanding a reshuffle of the council of ministers.
The effective strength of the 60-member Assembly is now 59 after a Congress MLA, who had defected to the BJP, was disqualified by the Speaker last month following an order of the Supreme Court.
The Election Commission in June last year declared the NPP led by Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma as a national party. The NPP has political base in most of the northeastern states, including Meghalaya, Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - IANS)