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Manipur health minister resigns due to 'interference'

By Ians English

Imphal, April 15: The month-old BJP-led coalition government in Manipur was rocked with senior Minister L Jayentakumar -- in charge of Health and three other important portfolios - tendering his resignation in protest against 'uncalled for interference' by Chief Minister N Biren Singh.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh

The chief minister has rushed to Delhi to firefight the political threat, it is learnt.

Jayentakumar submitted his resignation personally to Biren on Friday evening.

Biren in his capacity as the minister in charge of the department of personnel had suspended Okram Ibomcha, the health director, without consulting Jayentakumar.

There was no specific charge against Ibomcha. The suspension order said that it was to take 'disciplinary actions' against him. Ibomcha is a close relative of previous Congress chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

Jayentakumar is one of the four MLAs of the National People's Party who was sworn in on March 15 when the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government was formed.

The resignation letter says that he is thankful to the chief minister for inducting him in the ministry. But he was not able to fulfil his vision due to the 'interference'.

Some other NPP MLAs have reasons to be unhappy with some of their portfolios, sources said.

Y Joykumar, NPP MLA from Uripok, who is a former Director General of Police had reportedly wanted the Home portfolio, which is important in insurgency-hit Manipur. However, Biren kept it with him.

Joykumar is the deputy chief minister.

The coalition ministry was sworn in on March 15. Nine MLAs of BJP, NPP, Naga People's Front, LJP and Congress (who changed loyalty) were inducted. Three more Ministers and 12 Parliamentary secretaries were sworn in on March 23.


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