IMPHAL, June 13 - Even as 17 BJP MLAs in Manipur have reportedly submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to remove N Biren Singh as the Chief Minister of the State, the latter has taken over charge of the Finance, Public Works and Power departments. There are 21 BJP MLAs in the Manipur Assembly.
In the wake of a financial crisis, Chief Minister N Biren Singh on Thursday took over charge of the three key portfolios, stated an official release.
Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar has been stripped of the Finance, Taxation and Excise portfolios, while minister Th Bishwajit Singh was divested of the Public Works and Power departments.
The removal of key departments from the control of the Deputy Chief Minister and the Cabinet minister came up amid the reported power tussle and the attempt to replace N Biren Singh as the Chief Minister within the State BJP that leads the coalition Government in Manipur.
Local media reported that 17 BJP MLAs who submitted a petition to the Prime Minister and the party�s national president, pressing for the replacement of Biren Singh as the Chief Minister, are camping in New Delhi to meet the BJP�s national leadership.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Biren Singh and the Speaker of the Manipur Legislative Assembly separately rushed to New Delhi on Thursday. Reliable sources said that the Chief Minister dashed to the national capital to meet party leaders to resolve the prevailing power tussle within the party in the State.
However, the Assembly Speaker took the flight to New Delhi after he was summoned by the national leaders of the party to discuss the prevailing political unrest within the ruling party, another source said.
Meanwhile, the official release issued by the Secretary to the Chief Minister on Thursday, stated that the Chief Minister took over the three key departments after the grim financial situation in the State was discussed in a Cabinet meeting.
The RBI has already put a bar on withdrawal of funds from the State Government�s account with effect from June 12. While imposing the ban, the RBI stated that the Government account has overdrawn in excess of the arrangements agreed upon. A source in the State Finance Department put the overdraft amount of the State Government at around Rs 274.46 crore.
The Cabinet meeting on Wednesday authorised the Chief Minister to take all necessary disciplinary actions to ensure financial prudence and propriety in key government departments.
Consequently and as an interim measure, the Chief Minister has vested the charge of the Department of Finance (including Taxation and Excise), Public Works and Power departments with himself, the statement of the Secretary to the Chief Minister added. A thorough investigation of the sanction procedures and financial management will be conducted for all key departments, the statement said.
�The Government is committed to bringing a new phase wherein financial discipline will be the hallmark of governance,� it added. The Government also assured its employees that timely disbursement of salaries and benefits would not be impacted.