As Congress battles to save the government from rebels in Uttarakhand, the Ministers in Manipur have now warned Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh that all of them will quit if he drops even one Minister from the Cabinet to placate the dissidents. The ministers conveyed the decision to the Chief Minister after a meeting among themselves in Imphal. This threat is the latest to hit Ibobi who is battling mounting dissidence within the Congress party. Manipur, with a 60-member Assembly, is entitled to have 12 ministers including the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, Charltolian Amo, chairman of the Hill Areas Committee, has resigned from the post of vice president of the Manipur Congress unit due to the replacement of Gaikhangam as the Manipur Congress president by TN Haokip. One Minister said that the dissidents’ demand was unreasonable. They want the axing of ministers whose performances was below the mark.
However, the ministers urge that if any of them is dropped to accommodate the dissidents, it will give an impression that the axed ministers were involved in corruption or were non-performers or both. This will impact their prospects in the next Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, the dissident leaders have reaffirmed their stand that 11 of the 12 ministers need to go. They also want Speaker T Lokeswor to resign. One dissident legislator informed that they have no objection to whoever the Chief Minister picks in the new ministry. Ibobi Singh had said that at the end of two-and-a-half years, the ministers would be replaced by another lot, but he did not keep his word.