Cong lambasts Biren's 'electioneering' amid crisis
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, December 02 2023: Chief Minister N Biren has given priority to MP elections over the Manipur crisis, said CLP leader and former CM Okram Ibobi today.

Instead of meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end the conflict, the Chief Minister has urged the public to vote for BJP in the coming MP elections, he said speaking to reporters at a press meet at Congress Bhavan, Imphal.

"After returning from Delhi yesterday, amid the present crisis, the CM has urged the public to elect two BJP MPs in the coming 2024 election so that they can support Narendra Modi as PM for another term.

This is very unfortunate," Ibobi said.

People were expecting the CM to say and assure that the displaced people would be allowed to return to their native places and homes.

Instead, he brought up the MP elections, the former CM said.

Cong lambasts Biren's 'electioneering' amid crisis
Cong lambasts Biren's 'electioneering' amid crisis

"The CM (N Biren) said the crisis was born as a result of steps taken up by the BJP Government to save Manipur's integrity, reserved forests, its war on drugs and crackdown on illegal immigrants.

However, it is the duty and responsibility of the State Government to protect reserved forests.

It is the responsibility of both the India Government and the State Government to detect, identify and deport illegal immigrants from Myanmar, Bangladesh or any other foreign country," said Ibobi.

The former Chief Minister added that the Indian Government is responsible for defending the border.

It is the responsibility of the double engine Government (BJP in the Centre and the State) to check infiltration/illegal immigration from Myanmar and cross border drug trafficking.

He said the CM has levelled unfounded charges accusing the previous Congress Government of not fencing the border.

The then Congress Government had started 10 Kms of border fencing.

However, the fencing of the border was paused after ICHAM and other organisations demanded a re-survey of the border alleging Manipur had lost land.

Had the work continued, 50 percent of the porous border with Myanmar would have been fenced today, Ibobi said.

Talking about the Government's war on drugs and opium poppy cultivation, Ibobi said the Government's present campaign against drugs may succeed if the BJP MLAs and Ministers of the hills are "sincere" .

"The war on drugs, and crackdown on poppy cultivation, cross border drug trafficking and infiltration would have succeeded if the BJP MLAs and Ministers were sincere in their efforts," Ibobi said.

The BJP Government seems to lack sincerity in its efforts to curb illicit drugs, he said, citing examples.

He said the State Government had turned deaf when people demanded it to hand over the more than Rs 20 crore drug case "involving" then Chandel ADC Chairman to the CBI.

If the Government was sincere enough in its campaign against drugs, it would have transferred the case to the CBI as people demanded, he said.

Citing another case, he asked what had happened to the case in which drugs were seized from some police personnel near Pallel.

He said the case involving the police was made to investigate by the police itself.

The Government was against calls for handing over the case to a Central agency proving its insincerity and lack of commitment.

Ibobi said identifying the Government's eviction of people from reserved forests as the cause of the present conflict would be wrong.

The issue regarding eviction may be solved by providing them alternate places for settlement, he said.

He said the BJP is celebrating that an Indian Navy ship has been named Imphal when in fact, the construction of the ship Imphal was sanctioned by the Congress Government during Dr Manmohan Singh's tenure as the Prime Minister.

The MDS corruption case is in the Court.

The Court will take action against those found guilty.

People have a fair idea as to which party is more corrupt--the then Congress Government or the present BJP Government.

People will soon decide on this matter and give a result, he said.

MPCC president K Meghachandra, who was also present with other Congress MLAs, said more than 50,000 displaced people were still in relief camps across the State when the CM was seeking votes for BJP in the MP elections.

Instead of trying to resolve the crisis, the BJP Government is indulging in making false charges and accusations against the Congress, he said.

He claimed that the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) can't be implemented in Manipur unless the cut-off base year of the Inner Line Permit system is changed.

The September 23, 2022 Gazette notification of the State Government mentioned the ILP's cut-off base year as 1961.If the base year is 1961, NRC can't be implemented in Manipur.

The base year must be changed, he said.

Former Speaker MLA Thokchom Lokeshwor too took a dig at Chief Minister N Biren Singh for bringing up MP elections amid the crisis.

If the BJP Government says it will resolve the crisis and bring peace immediately, Congress will support and let two BJP MP candidates win the elections uncontested.

Taking a swipe at Chief Minister N Biren Singh, Sugnu AC MLA and Deputy CLP leader Kangujam Ranjit said the BJP MLAs should elect one of them who can meet the Prime Minister in person on the Manipur crisis as the Chief Minister.

"The BJP MLAs should discuss among themselves and choose a person, for CM's post, who can meet the Prime Minister in person and bring solutions.

They should choose a person who has the courage and can lead the Unified Command as its Chairman.

The Congress will support such a person," K Ranjit said.

On March 11 this year, Chief Minister N Biren Singh-led Cabinet took a unilateral decision to withdraw the SoO (Suspension of Operation) agreement signed with Kuki militants.

As the Centre did not agree to the decision, the State Government, after declaring withdrawal is unable to actually withdraw from the agreement.

This is humiliating for the present Government, he said.

He asserted that the present crisis was born out of the Chief Minister's "failure" as the head of the Government and his "poor" governance.

It was the Chief Minister who "allowed" the May 3 rally in Churachandpur.

His "failure" to control the protesters and the ensuing violence resulted in the current seven months old turmoil, he said.

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