Sonia Gandhi draws crowd
AICC chief tests AFSPA water
Source: The Sangai Express

Wangjing, February 05: Congress president Sonia Gandhi, while stating that the SPF Government has already lifted the Disturbed Area status has assured that the Government is looking seriously to lift the same from other areas too.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act is enforced in areas which are declared Disturbed Areas.

Addressing a mammoth gathering here at Kodompokpi ground at Wangjing town in Thoubal district about 27 kilometers from the State�s capital today, the Congress chief said �You all know that the Act has been removed from seven Assembly Constituencies in Imphal municipal areas.

The Government is looking seriously to lift the same from other areas too�.

However election manifesto of the Congress for the 9th Assembly election did not explicitly say anything on the repeal or continued imposition of the said Act.

On the other hand the Congress emphasized more on peace and harmony.

Going along the lines of the manifesto, Gandhi said the Congress led Government at the Centre is also committed to promoting peace and communal harmony.

She also stressed the need to enhance women empowerment, social empowerment, employment opportunity, and social security.

While acknowledging the State�s rich culture and excellence in sports, she lauded the role of Manipuri women in fighting social evils and injustice.

Stating that the law and order situation in the State has improved after the completion of the full five year term of Congress led Government in Manipur, Gandhi said �when I came down here five years ago the law and order situation as well as the economic condition was grave�.

The Congress that emerged the single largest party in the previous polls formed the Government and set the record of being the first Govt to complete its term in Manipur.

This has also brought about a great change, she said.

It is only the Congress which can fulfil the aspirations of the people of Manipur, she claimed while exhorting the mammoth crowd of about 30,000 people to cast their votes for the Congress �for a bright future of the State�.

She also recalled the huge economic packages announced by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh during his recent visit to the State.

The packages include upgradation of Regional Institute of Medical Sciences to the status of AIIMS, Manipur Institute of Technology to National Institute of Technology, National Highways and many other developmental fronts, she said.

The Congress led UPA Government has taken up a number of developmental works unlike the previous BJP led NDA Government, Gandhi claimed while pointing out that under the dynamic leadership of the Congress, Manipur has entered the IT age giving job opportunities to a number of youths.

On territorial integrity, she said, � Congress is committed to maintain the territorial integrity of Manipur and this commitment has been kept as a firm policy of the party�.

Commenting on insurgency, the AICC chief said the insurgents have not succeeded in their goals because the people do not support them adding �We have to fight insurgency�.

Supporting the Prime Minister�s appeal to all insurgent groups to come forward for a meaningful dialogue, Gandhi said they should talk to bring about a permanent settlement provided they should shun the path of violence.

Union Cabinet Minister Oscar Fernandez and other Congress leaders accompanied the AICC chief.

Thoubal having 10 constituencies along with Senapati district will go to poll in the first phase on February 8.The second and third phase poll is slated for February 14 and 23.