Imphal: The Manipur cabinet underwent an expansion on Saturday with six more ministers taking oath.
Among the six legislators inducted today in the nearly one month old ministry of chief minister N Biren Singh, five are from the BJP and one from its ruling partner NPF. The five from the BJP are Letpao Haokip, Sapam Ranjan Singh, Thounaojam Basanta Singh, L Susindro Meitei and H Dingo Singh, and Khasim Vashum of NPF.
With the induction of the six cabinet ministers, the strength of N Biren’s ministry rose to 12. Of these, 10 including the chief minister are from the BJP and two are from the NPF.
Twelve ministers is the limit of the strength of the council of ministers in the state set by the constitution. The state Assembly has 60 seats and the maximum in the cabinet can be 15% of the total.
N Biren Singh took oath as the chief minister of the state for the second consecutive term on March 21 last. On the same day, five MLAs –four from BJP and one from NPF – were also sworn in as cabinet ministers. Even as the BJP secured absolute majority in the recently concluded elections to the 12th Manipur Assembly by winning in 32 seats, the party chose to run the government with the NPF that bagged five seats.
Manipur Governor, La Ganesan administered the oath of office to the newly inducted cabinet minister in Imphal Raj Bhavan today, at 11 am, in the presence of the chief minister.
Cabinet ministers, Lok Sabha MP, RK Ranjan, some MLAs of the ruling parties and parties extending external support to the government, top officials civil and police officers including state chief secretary, BJP leaders were among others who attended the swearing in ceremony. However, no MLA from the opposition Congress attended the ceremony.
The portfolios for the newly inducted cabinet ministers are yet to be announced.
Talking to reporters, the chief minister said that the portfolios will be allotted in the next two or three days.
Biren Singh said that as his council of ministers has a full strength, the government will be able to concentrate on taking up works which the BJP had promised during the recently concluded elections.
“This is the bounden duty of my government to implement the commitment and assurance given to the people during elections,” he said.
In the two-phase elections to the state Assembly held in February-March, the BJP won 32 seats while the NPF bagged five seats.
The government enjoys the support of the seven MLAs of National People’s Party (NPP), six MLAs of JD(U), two MLAs of Kuki People’s Alliance (KPA) and three Independent MLAs in the assembly.
Congress, which won five seats, is the only opposition in the 60-member house.