Nongthombam Biren Singh , popularly known as N. Biren Singh, is an Indian politician, former footballer, and former journalist. On 15 March 2017, he got elected as the twelfth Chief Minister of Manipur. On 11 March 2022, he tendered his resignation from the post of the Chief Minister of Manipur.
N. Biren Singh was born on Sunday, 1 January 1961 (age 61 years; as of 2022) in Luwangsangbam Mamang Leikai, Imphal, Manipur. His zodiac sign is Capricorn. His hometown is Heingang, Manipur. He pursued a Bachelor of Arts from D.M. College of Arts & Commerce, Imphal, Manipur, in 1981. He also pursued a Diploma in Journalism. N. Biren Singh was inclined towards sports since childhood and was an ardent fan of football.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper (semi-bald)
Eye Colour: Black
Parents & Siblings
N. Biren Singh is the son of N. Gouro Singh.
Wife & Children
N. Biren Singh is married to N. Hiyainu Devi, an entrepreneur and a social worker. The couple has two sons and a daughter. One of their sons is named Nongthombam Ajay Singh. Their daughter, Anjubala Nongthongbam, is married to R. K. Imo Singh (politician). R. K. Imo Singh is the son of Rajkumar Jaichandra Singh, the first Union Minister from Manipur in the Rajiv Gandhi led government.
As a Footballer
When Biren Singh was 18 years old, he started his career as a footballer. He was recruited in the Border Security Force (BSF) and initially, played for BSF’s team in domestic football competitions. Later, he became the first football player from Manipur to play outside the state. In 1981, he was a part of the BSF’s football team which beat Kolkata’s Mohun Bagan to lift the Durand Cup. He quit the team in 1982 but continued to play for the Manipur state team until 1992.
As a Journalist
Although he had no formal training in journalism, Biren founded Naharolgi Thoudang, a vernacular daily, in 1992. He worked as the editor of the newspaper till 2001. In the year 2000, Biren Singh was reportedly arrested on sedition charges for allowing the publication of a speech of an activist, who was alleged to be close to a separatist group.
As a Politician
In 2002, Biren began his political career by joining the regional Democratic Revolutionary People’s Party (DRPP). In the same year, he was elected to the Manipur Legislative Assembly from the Heingang constituency. After a year, he was first appointed as the Minister of State of Vigilance in the Manipur state government and later, he became the Minister of Irrigation & Flood Control and Youth Affairs & Sports. The Democratic Revolutionary People’s Party (DRPP) merged with the Indian National Congress (INC) before the 2007 Assembly elections. In 2007, he contested the Legislative Assembly elections from the Heingang constituency on a ticket from the Indian National Congress and retained the seat. In 2012, Biren retained his Legislative Assembly seat for the third consecutive term. However, he was excluded from the Cabinet in 2012, which resulted in his declining relations with the then Chief Minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh. During that time, he was the vice-president of the then Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee. In September 2015, when BJP passed a bill in the Manipur Legislative Assembly to protect indigenous peoples, he stated that the bill would not harm any community in the state. Owing to poor relations with Okram Ibobi Singh, he resigned from the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee and the Manipur Legislative Assembly in October 2016. Subsequently, Singh joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and became the Spokesperson and Co-convener of the Election Management Committee of BJP Manipur Pradesh. In 2017, he contested and won the Manipur Legislative Assembly election from the Heingang Assembly constituency on a ticket from BJP.
On 15 March 2017, Biren Singh was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Manipur, with a majority of MLAs having been presented to the Governor. He became the first-ever Chief Minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Manipur.
As the Chief Minister of Manipur, Biren Singh, in January 2018, laid the foundation stone for a new academic building of Manipur Public School. The project included new classrooms, headmaster’s room, common rooms, library, laboratories, toilets, and separate hostels for boys and girls and was undertaken by Manipur Minorities and the OBC Economic Development Society (MOBEDS). The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs estimated the cost of the project to be Rs. 10.80 crore.
In April 2018, Biren launched the first state-level Ginger Festival at Parbung in Pherzawl District. The festival was a move towards the promotion of agriculture in the district which is one of the most backward in the state. The festival received positive reviews from the farmers, who reported that since 2018 they were able to sell their organic produce (ginger) throughout the year.
Under his leadership, Manipur became the second state in India to declare itself coronavirus free during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic in India. In 2020, there were just two patients in Manipur who had tested positive for the virus and successfully recovered from it.
In June 2020, 9 MLAs supporting his government in Manipur blamed him for a lack of action during the Covid-19 pandemic and withdrew their support from his government. During the vote of confidence, he was among the eight MLAs from Manipur who skipped the legislative assembly proceedings defying the party whip for the trust vote. Later, all the members resigned from the Indian National Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
In 2022, he contested the Legislative Assembly elections from the Heingang constituency. He defeated Congress candidate P Sharatchandra by 18,271 votes, becoming the MLA (on a ticket from BJP) from the Heingang constituency for the second time.
On 11 March 2022, he tendered his resignation from the post of Chief Minister of Manipur to the Governor of Manipur at the Raj Bhavan.
On 21 March 2022, he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Manipur for the second time consecutively.
Accused of putting pressure on NAB
In July 2020, Additional Superintendent of Police, NAB, Thounaojam Brinda accused Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh of allegedly putting pressure on the Narcotics and Affairs of Border Bureau to drop the case against a person accused in a drug seizure raid which took place in June 2018. Brinda filed a complaint against Singh in the Imphal High Court.
The Controversial Image
In February 2021, Biren Singh took to Twitter to declare ‘history being created’ in Manipur as all the communities and tribes came together as one in the fight against drugs and poppy plantations in the state. However, what caught the attention of people was an image shared by him in which he was seen walking into a facility with hands folded, as schoolchildren lined up on both sides, kneeling and bowing their heads touching the ground. He captioned the image as,
I am really proud to see the culture and custom of the Manipuris. What a discipline.”
The image soon went viral on the internet and Singh was criticised for his actions. A Tweet read,
Mr CM if u want this type of custom and respect go to Thailand and become a king there not here, everything has its limit,u walked on the red carpet and the kids are on the dirty side, shame.”
Another user wrote,
So sad & ashamed. Poor kids may not even be aware of who he is & what it means by bowing down to a democratically elected person. It is an act of slavery & in such situation people lose their own identity & self respect.”
The Controversial Law AFSPA
In January 2022, N. Biren Singh made the headlines after the controversial law ‘The Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act’ (AFSPA) was enforced in Manipur. AFSPA gives vast powers to the country’s military to operate freely in the area that has been declared a ‘disturbed area.’ After the enforcement of the law in Manipur, N. Biren Singh said that he was too against the law but had to welcome it due to national security. While talking to an Indian media house, he said,
I am myself against AFSPA. But as a responsible head of state, I have to see national security also.
He further said,
I am trying to bring a good atmosphere in the state for law and order… and we have to look at the situation in the neighbouring country as well.”
As of 2022, N. Biren Singh’s net worth is Rs. 14, 604,000 approx.
He earned an income of Rs. 24,23,020 for the financial year 2020-2021.
- Cash- Rs. 1,95,000
- Bank Deposits- Rs. 58,26,872
- Mahindra Bolero- Rs. 6,50,000
- Gold (20 Gram)- Rs. 99,520
- Walther 38 Pistol- Rs. 1,75,000
- Agricultural Land- Rs. 10,45,000
- Residential Buildings- Rs. 30,00,000 (as of 2022)
- Politician: Narendra Modi
- Sport: Football
- N. Biren loves watching football matches and reading books in his leisure time.
- Besides being a politician, he is also a social worker and often raises issues for the welfare of the indigenous people of Manipur.
- He once received the Best State Journalist Award from the former Chief Minister of Manipur W Nipamacha.
- In January 2017, Biren Singh’s son Nongthombam Ajay Singh was convicted of killing 21-year-old Irom Roger and was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for five years by a sessions court in Imphal West. A fine of Rs 10,50,000 was also imposed on him. Further, the court also sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for a period of four years and imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 under Section 27 of the Arms Act.
- In 2018, he was awarded the Champions of Change Award for his exceptional work to the nation. The award was conferred by the Vice-President of India Sri. Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi.
- Biren Singh is the first Chief Minister in India to have been a sportsman before becoming a politician.