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N Biren sworn in as first BJP CM of Manipur

Imphal: N Biren Singh was on Wednesday sworn in as the Chief Minister of the first-ever BJP-led government in Manipur after the Assembly election threw up a hung house.
Governor Najma Heptulla administered the oath of office and secrecy to Singh at a function in Raj Bhavan here. Eight other ministers from the BJP and its alliance partners also took oath along with the chief minister.
Y Joykumar of NPP has been designated as the Deputy Chief Minister. The other ministers are Th Biswajit Singh of BJP, L Jayantakumar Singh, L Haokip and N Kayisii of National People’s Party, L Dikho of Naga People’s Front and Karam Shyam of LJP.
TH Shyamkumar, a Congress MLA who defected to the BJP, was also sworn in. BJP general secretary Ram Madhav and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were present at the swearing-in ceremony among others.
Outgoing Chief Minister Ibobi Singh was also present. BJP President Amit Shah and Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu, who were scheduled to attend the function, could not arrive here as the aircraft they were travelling in suffered an engine problem mid-air prompting the pilot to return to Delhi.
Heptulla had on Tuesday invited Biren Singh, who was unanimously elected the leader of the 21-member BJP Legislature Party, to form the government.
The BJP has claimed the support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday congratulated newly-appointed Maipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
“Congratulations to N Biren Singh and his team on taking oath. I am sure this team will work tirelessly towards Manipur’s development,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Manipur’s new Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Wednesday said his first priority is to get lifted the indefinite economic blockade of the state imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC).
He was speaking to reporters shortly after his swearing-in at Raj Bhavan here.
The indefinite economic blockade imposed in the state from November 1, 2016, has caused immense hardships to the common people. The United Naga Council imposed it to protest the incumbent Congress government’s move to create two new districts of Sadar Hills and Jiribam, where the Nagas have substantial presence.
During campaigning ahead of the state assembly elections, Bharatiya Janata Party national leaders promised that the blockade would be lifted within 48 hours if the party formed the government in Manipur.
The task has been made easier since the Naga People’s Front is a coalition partner in the BJP-led government in Manipur now.
However, informed sources here said the UNC is unlikely to call off the blockade.
The Congress government had maintained that the new districts were created for administrative convenience.
The 56-year-old politician is widely admired for his friendly disposition and is popular, particularly among journalists. Biren Singh admits he never dreamt of becoming the Chief Minister. (Agencies)

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