Pact With NSCN-IM a Hidden Volcano
Manipur CM confident of another Congress win; says BJP has no roots in state and has no obligation to people
Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh is confident of a fourth consecutive win for the Congress in the assembly polls to the state. In an interview to Bikash Singh, the CM said that the Framework Agreement inked between the Centre and the NSCN-IM was a ‘dormant volcano’. Excerpts:
How crucial it is for the Congress to win the Manipur elections? The political dynamics in our neighbouring states cannot be equated with the simple and complex issues prevailing in Manipur. The assembly elections in Manipur will give a clear and simple message to BJP: Its inherent meddlesome political manoeuvres will be thwarted by the people of Manipur. When Congress workers were confined to their respective camps in the last assembly elections, after a threat from insurgents, many media pundits said that the Congress would be wiped out. However, the people elected 42 candidates of the Congress by comfortable margins to the 60-member assembly, while many party candidates lost only by a few votes.
Is BJP a strong contender this time? It is a rootless party in Manipur. That the party emerged with a document vision only just before the elections indicates that it has no grassroots or people-oriented agenda. They do not have a responsibility, they have no obligation to the people. It is a party that has no spine to place on record a manifesto to the people of Manipur. The people of Manipur are not going to be swayed by any false dream and propaganda.
What is your reaction to BJP’s accusation that you have divided Manipur by creating seven new districts? There are some districts in Manipur with headquarter located so far away that it takes two days to reach them. One has to make this long journey through mountainous terrain even to get an information or for an official document. The creation of new districts was long overdue and was purely for administrative convenience. The additional seven new districts have nothing to do with any particular community. All the districts in Manipur are inhabited by different communities and they are not sole property of any community. The demand for creation of new districts is an old one. We have done something which no other government has been able to do. People of both hill and valley celebrated the decision.
ON DYNAMICS The political dynamics in our neighbouring states can’t be equated with simple & complex issues prevailing in Manipur
How many seats do you estimate the Congress to win? The political consciousness and the participation of the people of Manipur in the democratic and electioneering process, altogether cannot be analysed from one angle. Media pundits openly confessed through their columns, last time, they committed hari-kari by saying that Congress will never come to power. We were entrusted with the responsibility to perform with a clear mandate. We will graciously accept the verdict of the people. We will absolutely get a clear majority.
ON NEW STATES The creation of new districts was long overdue and was purely for administrative convenience
Will you ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reveal the contents of the framework agreement between NSCN -IM and the Centre when he reaches here for campaigning? The BJP government has not been able to spell out the contents of the framework agreement for reasons best known to it alone. The duplicity and the mystery of the understanding between the BJP government and NSCN-IM are kept a secret. It's for the people of Manipur to decide and make a judgment on a party that almost destroyed a state by announcing 'ceasefire without territorial limits.’ The hidden understanding in the agreement is a dormant volcano.