BJP's N Biren Singh is the new Manipur Chief Minister. Here are 7 things you need to know about the footballer turned politician

A former minister in the Ibobi Singh-led Congress government, N Biren Singh will be the the first BJP leader to become the chief minister of Manipur.

N Biren Singh was sworn in today as the BJP’s first chief minister in Manipur. It has now become the third state after Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast to have a BJP government.

Despite getting 21 seats, BJP pulled the rug under the feet of Okram Ibobi Singh’s party with the help of smaller parties like NPP, NPF, LJP and an independent MLA.

Earlier Singh was unanimously elected as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party on Monday. He had said that the BJP’s only motto is “United Manipur”.

A former minister in the Ibobi Singh-led Congress government, Biren thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership for giving him an opportunity to serve Manipur.

Here are 7 things you need to know about him:

  1. N Biren Singh is a national level footballer-turned-journalist-turned-politician from Manipur, who is the first BJP candidate to be the chief minister of Manipur. His love for football has not faded as he named his younger son after the famous Brazilian footballer Ziko. He has kept his son’s household name as Pele.
  2. In 2001, Biren Singh sold his newspaper for Rs 2 lakh and used the money to fight the elections as an independent candidate and won.
  3. He began his political career in 2002 when he was elected to the eighth Manipur Legislative Assembly from his home constituency, Heingang, as a Democratic Revolutionary Peoples Party candidate.
  4. Biren Singh is now four-time legislator from Heinganag Assembly seat. He joined the Congress and was appointed Minister of State of Vigilance in the Manipur government in 2003. In October 2016, Singh rebelled against the then CM Ibobi Singh and formally joined the BJP on October 17, 2016.
  5. He has played a key role in the saffron brigade’s electoral success where its figure rose from zero in 2012 to 21 this time. This will be the first BJP-led government in the state.
  6. The entrance gate of Biren Singh’s residence has a picture of himself playing football during the 1991 Durand Cup final match. He was then playing for the BSF Jalandhar team. Biren Singh has played football for Jalandhar and Delhi teams for five years.
  7. His aim is to lift the ongoing economic blockade in the state imposed by the United Naga Council.