TODAY -

CM speaks out his mind to Shinde in rejecting Art 371 (A) proposal
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 14 2013: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh reportedly offered to step-down in case the Central Government takes any step that affects the emotional and territorial integrity of Manipur.

According to an informed source, the CM clearly stated his position on the emotional and territorial integrity issue of Manipur at a recent meeting with Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde at New Delhi.

Accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam and IFCD Minister Ngamthang Haokip, the CM met Shinde on February 5 on the latter's intimation to discuss the possible outcome of the ongoing political dialogue between the Central Government and NSCN (IM) leaderships.

Apart from prevailing upon the Union Minister that there will be no objection in case the Centre assumes that removing him (Ibobi) will pave the way for a breakthrough to the ongoing parleys, the CM is also said to have declared that it is the Central Government's prerogative whether or not the State Government is taken into confidence in settling the protracted Naga political issue.



Shushil Kumar Shinde and Chief Minister O Ibobi
Shushil Kumar Shinde and Chief Minister O Ibobi


Disclosing that Central Government interlocutor in the Naga political dialogue RS Pandey was also present at the said meeting, the source also revealed that at the said meeting Sushil Kumar Shinde proposed cultural integration of the Nagas and promulgation of Article 371(A) of the Constitution in Naga dominated areas of Manipur.

In reply to the proposal, Ibobi suggested that Shinde decide what the best solution would be that will also not dilute existence of Manipur along with the observation that having been a CM himself (Shinde) sensitiveness regarding boundary issue of a State should be very clear to the present Union Home Minister.

As Article 371 (A) amounts to conferring administrative power to the Governor and reducing the Council of Ministers to just a symbolic existence, the CM categorically rejected the proposal, the source explained.

While reiterating that any threat posed to Manipur's emotional and territorial integrity would not be acceptable to the State Government, Ibobi also pledged to extend all possible assistance and cooperation to the Centre's endeavour for a lasting solution to the Naga political issue.

On the other hand, reacting to Shinde's observation that Senapati district is an exclusive domain of the Nagas, Ngamthang Haokip reportedly pointed out that both Nagas and Kukis have proportionate population in the district.

Elaborating further, Ngamthang stated that there are autonomous district councils for Senapati and Sadar Hills and that he himself represents an assembly constituency from Sadar Hills.

Even though the Union Minister impressed upon the CM that the Centre-NSCN (IM) talks is in the national interest and suggested that Manipur contribute its mite to the Central Government's initiative, Ibobi was firm that a lasting solution without threatening Manipur's emotional and territorial integrity would be most welcome.


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