Post U-Turn, Manipur Dy CM Y Joykumar Retains Portfolios

Manipur Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla (L) with Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar Singh (C) and NPP President and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma (R) at Raj Bhavan, Imphal

In the aftermath of the political twists and turns helmed predominantly by the National People’s Party, in the BJP-led coalition government in Manipur, NPP leader, and Deputy Chief Minister Y. Joykumar Singh, on Monday, regained all portfolios he held earlier, hinting that the political crisis has come to an end for the nonce.

Mr. Joykumar has retained Finance, Science & Technology, and Economics and Statistics portfolios, according to an official order issued by Chief Secretary J Suresh Babu.

On April 9, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh showed who is the boss and stripped off all the portfolios held by Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar Singh. Mr. Joykumar had dubbed Mr. Biren a “mentally-deranged person” when localities of Uripok Assembly Constituency escalated a complaint about not receiving the right amount of relief items as announced by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh.

Reacting to Mr. Joykumar’s statement, BJP MLA Sorokhaibam Rajen Singh of Lamsang Assembly Constituency, who is also a spokesperson of the party, came down heavily on Deputy CM, saying that, all four NPP ministers were welcome to resign if they were not satisfied with the leadership of CM N. Biren Singh instead of making irresponsible statements.

On June 17, all the four NPP MLAs of the state along with one Trinamool Congress MLA and one Independent legislator had withdrawn their support to the coalition government and joined hands with Congress party. Three BJP MLAs had also resigned on the same day – both from BJP and memberships of Manipur Legislative Assembly – reducing the BJP-led government to a minority.

One of the NPP MLAs, L. Jayantakumar Singh, stepping down from being a Cabinet Minister, had said that the NPP’s decision to withdraw their support was final and there would be no room for negotiation. He also said that there was no element of democracy in the BJP-led Government but an autocracy run by a single man at his own will.

The developments had BJP worried and Congress had even staked claim to form the government. However, BJP managed to clinch the lone Rajya Sabha seat with its candidate Maharaja Sanajaoba securing 28 votes on June 19. Congress candidate lost with 24 votes.

Reacting to the poll result, Chief Minister N. Biren Singh had said there was no need to discuss the majority and minority of the party’s strength. “Titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba, fielded by BJP won the election with 28 votes, and Congress’ candidate received only 24 votes. This explains everything,” Mr. Biren had said.

Hardly a week after the RS result, all four MLAs of the National People’s Party (NPP) took a surprising u-turn and rejoined the BJP-led coalition government. After they met with top guns of BJP in Delhi, the four NPP MLAs, along with NPP President Conrad Sangma, met Governor Najma Heptulla and announced their support to the government.

For the time being, the political crisis seems dwindled in Manipur with Chief Minister N. Biren Singh reallocated portfolios of all NPP ministers. But, the recent unexpected turn of events triggered by NPP raises a big question — How long will the political stability remain in Manipur?