The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not revealed its candidate for the chief ministerial post in Manipur and has kept everyone in the dark about the myriad possibilities. Since speculations are rife, we decided to put up our own list of the potential chief ministerial candidates for the state.
Th Chouba Singh, former Union Minister
Th Chouba Singh is the front runner in BJP’s chief ministerial race, for his credentials as the former Union Minister in the previous NDA regime under the leadership of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He was also the president of the state chapter of the BJP till May 2015, when he was replaced by Ksh Bhabananda Singh. Chouba Singh was given the role of convenor of election management committee.
Chouba Singh, who is 78 years old, began his career in Congress in the late 50s and rose to the position as high as the Deputy Chief Minister and working President of the state chapter. He also joined Manipur State Congress Party, a regional party that was an NDA ally. Later on, he joined BJP and rose to the position of state president of the party. He represented the state in Lok Sabha for three terms.
In 2013, taking everyone by surprise, he declared that he would not contest in the 2014 general election. He said that he would rather give way to the other aspirants in the party. In 2014 general election, the party did not win a single seat in Manipur. Though Chouba’s high credential makes him a frontrunner, his rift with the party’s Manipur in-charge Prahlad Patel may come in his way.
Only last December, it was reported in the media that he threatened to resign if Patel was not removed from his position.
Party sources say that due to his competing relationship with some of the leaders of the party, he might not be seen as a suitable candidate for the position of the chief minister.
Speaking to Firstpost, he said that selecting the leader of the legislative party is the BJP leadership’s prerogative.
N Biren Singh
Nongthongbam Biren Singh won an MLA seat from Heingang constituency for three consecutive terms. He became an MLA in 2002 from Democratic People’s Republic Party. Later, he joined Congress. Before appearing as a politician in Manipur, he was a footballer and served at BSF Jalandhar football team. He also had a stint as a journalist in a newspaper.
After being elected as the MLA, he became minister of state (Independent Charge) and later on a cabinet minister.
Within the Congress party, he rose to the position of Vice-President of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee. He was also the spokesperson of the state government while also being the member of the All India Congress Committee.
He resigned from the position of an MLA and the primary membership of the Congress party on the month of August last year and joined BJP later.
N Biren Singh’s resignation from the Congress came after leading a dissident group of MLAs against Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh for months. Taking on Ibobi was seen as a courageous move for a comparatively young leader like him. Though unsuccessful, the attempt to throw out Ibobi made him politically stronger as he was seen as a leader with substantial following even among the MLAs and also as a potential leader of the state.
In fact, roping in N Biren Singh was BJP’s replication of its Assam formula, where it inducted dissident Congress leaders like Himanta Biswa Sarma and thus gained power in the state.
Yumkham Erabot Singh
Y Erabot Singh has been a six-time MLA from the Congress party and a minister in the state government equal number of times.
Erabot Singh, whose politics revolves around the Meitei nationalism, was seen as an arch critique of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
He is remembered for the courage he showed during an economic blockade imposed by a civil society group in Manipur, when he single-handedly managed to pass nearly one hundred trucks loaded with essential items to the valley.
He is seen as a person with strong political will.
Ksh Bhabananda Singh
Ksh Bhabananda Singh is the president of BJP’s state chapter, under whose leadership the party began excelling in Manipur. He took charge of the party in May 2016. Soon after, BJP got 10 seats in Imphal civic polls just two seats behind Congress.
Though he has not contested election, he might appear as the candidate for the position of chief minister as he is one of BJP leaders’ trusted hands in Manipur. He joined the party in 1995 and climbed the ladder to become the party president.
Updated Date: Mar 11, 2017 10:07 AM