Gaikhangam to be 2nd Man in Ibobi Cabinet

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IMPHAL, March15: State Congress chief Gaikhangam is all set to be sworn in as the second-in-command in the Okram Ibobi Cabinet despite opposition from some senior leaders, as state leaders finalized the list of ministers today morning with AICC President Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi, according to informed sources.

The Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh had rushed to New Delhi yesterday by an evening flight alongwith Gaikhangam and AICC General Secretary Luzinho Falerio after the swearing-in ceremony at the Imphal Raj Bhavan amidst minor revolts within the party. The Chief Minister was also accompanied by his wife and MLA Landhoni Devi.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh today met the Congress president Sonia Gandhi alongwith state Congress chief Gaikhangam and AICC general secretary Luzinho Falerio and has reportedly finalized the list of 11 ministers to be included in the government, according to Congress sources.

The sources said, many of the ministers in the SPF-II are out in the new ministry as finalized by the Congress High Command and it has decided to induct many new faces while taking into consideration women, ST/SC and minority quotas in the distribution of ministerial berths.

Chief Minister Ibobi Singh and party chief Gaikhangam are expected to return to Imphal tomorrow by a morning flight and the expansion of the 2-day old ministry might take place tomorrow evening, according to sources.

Besides Gaikhangam, the probable list of MLAs who could be inducted as ministers include Th Debendra Singh of Jiribam (Imphal East), Phungzathang Tonsing or TN Haokip from Churachandpur District, Moirangthem Okendro of Heirok and Yengkhom Surchandra of Kakching from Thoubal District, Govindas Konthoujam from Bishnupur District, Victor Keishing of Phungyar from Ukhrul District, DK Korungthang of Tengnoupal from Chandel District, Laishram Nandakumar of Uripok from Imphal West, Md Amin Shah of Kshetrigao from Imphal East, and AK Mirabai Devi from Imphal West.

The sources further said, Dr Khumujam Ratankumar Singh could be brought in as the Chairman of Planning & Development Authority (PDA), a post earlier held by Dr Kh Loken Singh who was defeated by former Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh’s son-in-law RK Imo Singh.

Senior leader Irengbam Hemochandra Singh might be asked to seek re-election to the post of the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly, the sources added. It may be recalled here that, elections for the post of Speaker has been fixed on March 19 in the morning with March 17 as the last date of filing of nominations in a notification issued by the Assembly Secretariat yesterday.

On the other hand, the Governor Gurbachan Jagat has already summoned the first session of the 10th Manipur Legislative Assembly on March 19 at 2 pm.

Meanwhile, Tipaimukh MLA Dr Chaltolien Amo and Chingai MLA MK Preshow have rushed to the national capital today, informed a source

On the other hand, three Congress MLAs representing Churachandpur district have today expressed surprise to the IFP report quoting Congress sources in Imphal, regarding their opposition to Phungzathang Tonsing’s inclusion in the new Ibobi cabinet. They said, they have no objections to Tonsing’s inclusion in the Cabinet.

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