Power, Works back to Biswajit:
Road to recovery?
Is this the first step towards a rapprochement now that Works and Power have been reverted to Th Biswajit who earlier held these portfolios ? Tough to say, but this could have a profound impact on how the two most important men in the Council of Ministers work in the BJP led coalition Government. Significantly, Finance is yet to be returned to Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar who was stripped of the same when Chief Minister N Biren responded swiftly and took over Works and Power from Th Biswajit and Finance from Y Joykumar after the State ran into overdrafts, in the midst of the stand off within the Ministry. Many saw the stripping of the key portfolios from the two Ministers as the Chief Minister sending out the message that any voice of dissent would be dealt with sternly and fittingly. Trouble within the Ministry surfaced when 50 percent of the 12 in the Council of Ministers decided to stay away from the Cabinet meeting held at Ukhrul on June 4. The Chief Minister topped this off by stating in full view of the media, the next day that a Cabinet reshuffle would be effected soon. Then followed the days of stand off, which were given vast coverage in the local media, but interestingly the dissident camp did not name anyone as the man who could replace Chief Minister N Biren. Not even when three BJP MLAs went all out during a TV interview and put it down in black and white that what they want is a change at the top, meaning a change in the Chief Minister.
No one named, but to many it was more than obvious that the man best placed to replace the Chief Minister is/was none other than Th Biswajit. Now that Biswajit has been given back the two key portfolios, which he held earlier, perhaps this could be seen as a rapprochement move initiated from the side of the Chief Minister. This may have come of his own volition or it could come via instructions from the Centre, for the BJP is not known to have brooked any infighting. The equation seems to be clear. Extend the hand of friendship to Biswajit, but this however does not answer the question of whether this would placate the others, meaning the 13 other MLAs who were reportedly against the continued leadership of N Biren. If such an apprehension is true, then the political climate can only get more interesting in the days to come. But as noted earlier in this column, perhaps this is not the right time for any infighting in the face of the realities facing the State. The Manipur People Bill, which seeks to regulate the inflow of non-locals into the State is yet to get the Presidential assent. The ongoing dialogue between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India is reportedly at its final stage. In such a situation can the State really afford such a situation, when the ruling Government is racked by internal wranglings ? Moreover the BJP at New Delhi has demonstrated that it will not brook any opposition to its political plans in the manner in which Articles 370 and 35A were abrogated in Jammu and Kashmir and how the State was bifurcated into two-Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh not as States but as Union Territories.