Home » Playing a risky game: The logic behind the appointment of Ex-MLAs as Minister

Playing a risky game: The logic behind the appointment of Ex-MLAs as Minister

by Rinku Khumukcham
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Six congress MLAs sacrificed their official positions in a desperate bid to save the N. Biren Singh led government by resigning from the membership of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, at a time when 3 prominent members from the BJP left the ruling party and joined the congress when the opposition congress was making full preparation of moving a no confidence motion against the N. Biren Singh led government. Without going much further into the politics of saving the government or those trying to topple it, one thing that need to be discussed is the episode of the major reshuffle that took place yesterday. Reshuffling of the ministry has been a long pending demand from almost all the BJP MLAs and has been a desire of the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh for reasons best known to himself. Attempts to reshuffle time and again either owing to the pressure of the BJP MLAs or the initiative of the Chief Minister were never successful as the real power of making changes to the government lies in the hands of the central BJP leaders. This time however, when the state is going to witness by-election of vacant assembly seats and the term of the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly is just 1 and half years left, a major reshuffle took place under the blessing of the central BJP leaderships. The Chief Minister who felt that there was no cooperation from among the Ministers in his government finally managed to replace all those whom he cannot control. The ensuing by-election certainly is going to decide the fate of the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh as well as the BJP party in the state of Manipur. Among the 13 vacant assembly seats ECI has already announced requirements for by-election of five assembly constituencies as the remaining 8 constituencies have pending cases at law court and thus cannot hold by-election as of now. Now the Chief Minister is in a position to control his ministry unlike before and if he can utilize his wisdom in ensuring his candidates win the by-election, it will make sure that his position become more secure and may become a more powerful chief Minister than he was before.
But the major obstacle now is from MLAs of his own party. May be because the Chief Minister inducted two ex-MLAs to his ministry, instead of MLAs from the BJP who had been demanding for a reshuffle since a very long time, at least 10 BJP MLAs including the 3 Ministers whom he dropped and the coalition political party NPP which have 4 members and the lone LJP MLA are reportedly camping to wage war against the N. Biren Singh leadership. So 15 MLAs, and that too from within his own party and two coalition political parties are likely to take extreme decisions like resigning en masse from the government. Whether this will be possible or not is a matter yet to be seen as it is likely that the ECI will issue notification for the by-election within a couple of days. Whether the resignation will have any significance once the election code of conduct comes into force is a matter again to be decided as anything can happen in politics. Resignation can be put on hold taking advantage of the Election Code of Conduct. Whether the law permits or not, nothing is impossible in politics. It happened before and is happening now not only in Manipur but also in almost every other parts of the country. However, this time the extreme decision taken by the Chief Minister by reshuffling the Ministry and appointing two ex-MLAs of the congress is a real risky game akin to playing with fire, as various political analysts point out. As of now there is no guarantee that by-election of the Wangkhei Assembly constituency will be held. The government can appoint any persons as minister but if he cannot become a legislature within 6 months than he or she will automatically cease to be a minister. As for O Lukhoi, the ex-congress MLA who had joined BJP by sacrificing his Congress membership to save the N. Biren Singh government at the time of vote of confidence in August this year, by-election will be held. Besides, there is still a ministerial berth yet to be inducted and nothing about keeping the seat vacant has been mentioned from the CMO except some unconfirmed rumours about Speaker Yumnam Khemchand denying the offer.
Is Biren playing some sort of risky political game foreseeing the future? And if he cannot keep those revolting against him in check, what will be the fate of his government?
It is at this point that people are expecting the imposition of president’s rule in the state. Is this what Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has also been expecting as alternative if in case his political gambits fail? A matter that needs to be pondered keeping in mind the evidently reckless and risky move by the present chief minister which smacks of a desperation and utter disregard for the present pandemic situation which cannot go out of hand due to the political upheaval.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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