A third contender backed by the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh for the Chief Minister’s seat has emerged in Manipur. The RSS-backed leader, Speaker in the previous assembly Yumnam Khemchand Singh, was called to Delhi by the BJP leadership yesterday, as also caretaker Chief Minister N Biren Singh and another contender for the top post, Biswajit Singh.
The RSS-backed leader would be an option for the BJP to avoid infighting between Biren Singh and Biswajit Singh, sources have said.
Union Ministers Nirmala Sitharaman and Kiren Rijiju are going to Manipur’s capital Imphal today, where they are likely to announce the BJP’s Chief Minister pick in the north-east state.
The BJP formed government in Manipur after winning in the recent assembly election. This would be the party’s second consecutive term in Manipur.
Yesterday, the BJP leadership in Delhi met with Biren Singh and Biswajit Singh. Both have also left for Imphal today.
The two Union Ministers, who are the central observers for the party in Manipur, will meet with local leaders in Imphal today, after which they are likely to announce their Chief Minister pick.
Sources have said the BJP central leadership has heard both Biren Singh and Biswajit Singh at length.
Although the BJP did not formally announce a chief ministerial face in Manipur, the party fought the polls under the leadership of Biren Singh, who campaigned across the state.
Biswajit Singh has been in the BJP longer than Biren Singh, but the latter was chosen for the top post after the 2017 elections, BJP sources told NDTV.
For the BJP, which won the state with a slim margin of 32 seats out of 60, the matter would require deft handling. Settling for either leader could mean trouble from the rival faction.
“We don’t have any group, among ourselves, that is for sure. The BJP is a democratic party, and leadership will decide this (the Chief Minister issue),” Biswajit Singh said recently.