Manipur CM N Biren Singh meeting Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on Saturday Credit: Twitter

Guwahati: In the wake of the prevailing financial situation and political crisis in Manipur, state chief minister N Biren Singh met Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman at her office chamber in New Delhi on Saturday.

The meeting assumes significance considering the state is in the middle of a financial crisis with the Reserve Bank of India banning all transactions of funds from the account of Manipur government with immediate effect. This was after the state was staring at an overdraft of Rs 247.48 crore crore, exceeding 36 days in a quarter, as per the scheme of ‘Ways of Means Advances’ for the year 2019-20.

It his Twitter message, CM Singh wrote, “Called on Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman ji @nsitharaman , Hon’ble Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, at her office chamber today and apprised her of the present financial position of the State.”

Commenting on the CM’s meeting with the finance minister, sources in the Manipur CMO said that issues relating to the overdraft of the state were discussed.

Also Read: ‘Huge amounts’ withdrawn by Manipur depts when model code was on

Following the decision of the chief minister N Biren Singh to take over key portfolios like finance from deputy chief minister Y Joykumar Singh and PWD and power from senior Cabinet minister T Biswajit Singh, the power tussle in Manipur has intensified with the battleground now shifting from Imphal to New Delhi.

Even though the BJP central leadership is yet to take any decision, party sources told EastMojo that the BJP national leadership has already summoned Manipur assembly speaker Y Khemchand to discuss about the issue and find an amicable solution to the prevailing crisis.

Cracks between Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and senior Cabinet minister Thongam Biswajit Singh (above) are bound to widen now

From Thursday, when the announcement was made, till Saturday noon, a number of senior ministers and MLAs from the state have rushed to New Delhi to meet their central leadership.

Some of the prominent ministers/MLAs who left for Delhi included Nemcha Kipgen (BJP), Th Radheshyam (BJP), L Jayantakumar (NPP), Letpao Haokip (NPP), N Kayisii (NPP), Losii Dikho (NPF) and TT Haokip (BJP), apart from Biswajit and Joykumar.

Even though CM Singh, who is camping in New Delhi since Thursday and have been meeting senior ministers and BJP leaders, including Rajnath Singh and Kiren Rijiju, among others, sources in the Manipur CMO have called such meetings as ‘pre-planned’ and ‘official’.

Minister Biswajit Singh has already expressed his unhappiness over the way the portfolios were snatched from them. In an exclusive interview with EastMojo, he termed the state government’s move to remove him from power and PWD portfolios as ‘someone’s reflection of immaturity and ignorance’.

“It was our internal matter and it should have been discussed among ourselves. It shouldn’t have gone out of our house. We could have solved the issue amicably within us. It could have been discussed in a Cabinet meeting or any other specially organised meeting with the ministers concerned. But, now, it has gone out. It shows ignorance, immaturity of anybody. I don’t like to mention anyone’s name. This will affect the image of our party among the masses,” Biswajit Singh said, adding: “I will meet party leadership in New Delhi. I have already discussed the matter with them. I will show them all factual positions so that they realise the actual position. Then they will take their decision of their own.”

Meanwhile, unhappy over the move, state deputy CM Joykumar Singh, who is also a senior leader from the National People’s Party (NPP), is also camping in New Delhi to discuss the issue with the NPP leadership, especially party president Conrad Sangma.

Also Read: Manipur: Huge cache of arms & ammunition recovered from Imphal

Sources close to NPP have already said that the party, which has four MLAs in Manipur, has already decided to demand for removal of Biren Singh as CM and decided to support Biswajit as his successor.

Two other ministers from NPP in the coalition government – health minister L Jayentakumar and tribal affairs minister N Kayishi — also accompanied the deputy CM to New Delhi.

Altogether, 17 of the total 21 BJP MLAs have already written to prime minister Narendra Modi and party national president Amit Shah to replace the current chief minister. It has also been learnt that some of the disgruntled MLAs and MPs have also met Assam minister and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma seeking a leadership change in Manipur.

The Naga People’s Front (NPF) too has been monitoring the latest political developments in the state.

On the other hand, Opposition Congress MLAs held a meeting on Friday and deliberated on the internal crisis in the ruling BJP-led coalition, sources added.

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