N Biren Singh News: Manipur’s BJP CM Face Is Ex-Football Genius in The 80s

In the 2022 assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won four of the five states. The BJP managed to win landslide victories in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Manipur, while it will form a coalition government in Goa. While all eyes were on BJP’s historic achievements in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the achievements of Manipur cannot be ignored. For the first time in Manipur’s history, the BJP managed to emerge as the single largest party, securing a clear majority by winning 32 out of 60 seats.

The key factor behind the success in Manipur was Nongthombam Biren Singh or N. Biren Singh. N Biren Singh has already created history for many reasons. Very few people know about this, but in fact he is the first Chief Minister of a state who was a sportsperson. Yes, N Biren Singh was one of the best footballer Manipur ever produced in his youth. Such was his popularity that he created waves in India in the 1980s.

Biren Singh and the 1981 Durand Cup

The year was 1981. N Biren Singh was one of the stars of Manipur when it comes to football. At the young age of 18, he was already making waves by playing for the Border Security Force (BSF). But, in the 1980s, Manipur was cut off from the rest of the country due to insurgency and lack of communication. This was the time when N Biren Singh made a mark for his state, long before people like MC Mary Kom put the state on the map.

Read more: Shilki Devi – Manipur’s wonderkid who overcame gender bias in football

His crowning glory came in the 1981 Durand Cup. Playing Jagjit Cotton and Textile Football Club or JCT FC from Punjab in the final, Biren Singh was the star as he scored a goal to help them win the Durand Cup. When he became Chief Minister, photographs of a young Biren Singh meeting the then President of India Neelam Sanjiva Reddy were shared on social media by other BJP ministers. The photo was taken before the final at Ambedkar Stadium in Delhi.

Stars continue to shine in Manipur

Nearly 30 years later, N Biren Singh shows he hasn’t lost his football touch. Biren Singh scored a goal which went viral on social media during a match played between Chief Minister’s 11 and Chief Secretary’s 11 at Khuman Lampak Main Stadium in Imphal in December 2020. Many compared the goal and his style to Zinedine Zidane.

N Biren Singh was born on 1 January 1961 in Imphal. He showed interest in football at an early age. He was included in the BSF team that created history. N Biren Singh became a journalist after playing football for 10 years. He started the local daily Naharolgi Thodang in 1992 and was its editor till 2001. After that stint in journalism, Biren Singh joined the Congress in 2003. He was one of the close aides of former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

Biren Singh’s constituency from the beginning was Hingang. After spending 13 years in the Congress, a rebellion within the party saw him join the BJP. In 2017, he became the first BJP CM of Manipur. His first term with the coalition government was full of ups and downs. But, in 2022, N Biren Singh won his constituency and the state with a huge margin.

Manipur’s identity is now dubbed by PM Narendra Modi for skills, start-ups and sports. Biren Singh might fit the bill perfectly. Just like in his football days, he can create history.

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