If chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh was relieved after Congress's landslide victory, his expressionless face didn't betray it. One reason, party insiders said, could be because he now has opposition from within for the top job.
After Congress's best show since 2002 under him, few doubt the possibility of Ibobi Singh emulating his Assam counterpart Tarun Gogoi in continuing as CM for the third straight term. But a reportedly iffy high command following demands from senior leaders for a change in leadership has complicated matters a bit.
According to party leaders, in the running for the CM's post is the maverick Y Erabot Singh, believed to be close to the AICC and Ibobi Singh's bête noire.
Erabot, who came across more of an opposition leader within the party during the current term, insisted he had no personal agenda in seeking a change in the Congress legislature party leadership. "The people have given their verdict. It is now our responsibility to provide a better government," he said. Ibobi Singh was non-committal about the leadership issue. "The party knows best and I will abide by what it decides," he said.
Luizinho Faleiro, AICC leader in charge of Manipur, however, puts the onus on the newly elected members of the Congress.
Another name doing the rounds for the CM's job is that of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee president Gaikhangam, a Naga from the hills of Tamenglong district. Many feel elevating him would strike a balance in a state that has had a history of ethnic tension between the Nagas and non-Nagas.