STAFF REPORTER| IMPHAL, 12th Jun: In a major political development ahead of the imminent cabinet reshuffle likely this month, 14 BJP MLAs out of the total 21 elected to the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly and three cabinet ministers have reportedly submitted written statements to the central leaders, urging for replacement of chief minister N Biren who is heading the BJP-led coalition government in the state.
According to a highly-placed source, many BJP MLAs are unhappy with the leadership style of CM Biren and the lackadaisical attitude meted out to them with the completion of two years in office. Moreover, inclusion of several MLAs defected from other political parties is bothering them and these led to the campaign for replacement of the chief minister, which has come to the fore.
Some MLAs met many BJP leaders on Tuesday to express their desire for omission/inclusion of ministers to be made in the anticipated cabinet reshuffling and replacement of the chief minister. During the meeting, the party leaders admitted that the growing conflict amongst the state BJP MLAs is a matter of grave concern and intimated the leaders that Biren was neither a projected CM nor a selected one. It could not be ascertained whether the MLAs will oblige with the instructions given by the central leaders or they will stick to their wish. Reports from within the BJP and media circles suggest that 14 BJP MLAs want CM Biren to be replaced by Th Biswajit (Thongju AC) who is currently holding the portfolio of works minister. Following the political development, many MLAs have started lobbying, wanting to decide whom to support and whom to disown, the source said. Six BJP MLAs who do not want to be named extended support to CM Biren. The recent visit of BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav and north east secretary in-charge Ajay Jamwal to the state was a clear indication of the growing rift amongst the state BJP MLAs. Since the centre is going to take a resolute decision on the issue sooner or later, two BJP MLAs who were supporting the chief minister may switch their allegiance as well, conveyed the source.