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Manipur blockade result of Congress’ conspiracy: Rajnath Singh

Imphal: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday alleged that the over 3-month long economic blockade of Manipur was the result of a conspiracy hatched by the state’s Congress government to divert attention from its failures.

“I think there is a political conspiracy to divert the attention from the failures of the Congress government here. I want to know why despite Centre extending all help, the economic blockade is still there,” the senior BJP leader said.

“I had told the state to sit for tripartite talks with the UNC and Centre to solve the problem. We have given the state enough central forces, but the state is not using those forces,” Singh said after the release of the party’s Vision Document for the Assembly elections next month.

The United Naga Council (UNC) has imposed a blockade on two National Highways of Manipur since November 1 last year to protest the state government’s decision to create 7 new districts which, the UNC said, would bifurcate ancestral lands of Nagas in Manipur.

The state government, however, has claimed that the decision was taken to improve administrative efficiency.

Supply of essential commodities to Manipur has been severely hit due to the blockade on NH2 (via Dimapur) and NH 37 (via Jiribam) – the two lifelines to the state.

“The law and order is a state subject…. When the economic blockade began, I myself had called up him (Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh) several times and told him we will extend all help to lift the blockade,” Singh said.

On the framework agreement signed in August 2015 between the Centre and the NSCN(IM) and allegations levelled by Congress that BJP has put the territorial integrity of Manipur under threat, Singh said the state government was trying to ‘fool’ people by spreading canards.

“I want to reassure all of you here that the central government and BJP will never compromise with the territorial integrity with Manipur. In the framework agreement, even the name of Manipur is not there. So why are they spreading lies? They should pursue healthy politics,” Singh said.

Singh lashed out at the Ibobi Singh government for being ‘unable’ to provide jobs, infrastructure and proper drinking water despite being in power for 15 years.

“If we come to power, we will ensure employment generation. BJP and good governance are synonymous,” he said, adding that intellectuals of the state would also have a say in providing good governance.

At the same programme, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also accused Ibobi Singh of shifting the blame of the economic blockade to the Centre.

If such a problem persisted in his state, Khandu said, it would become his responsibility to address the problem rather than blaming the Centre.

Khandu, a former Congress leader who joined the saffron party and formed a BJP government in Arunachal Pradesh on December 31 last, urged his Manipur counterpart to “do his duty” and solve the matter by talking to the stakeholders.

The North East has lagged behind in various sectors as the people of the region were inclined towards Congress, he claimed and said that time has come to follow the vision of the Prime Minister and allow the region to prosper.

Sarma, the Assam Finance Minister, charged Ibobi Singh with using the blockade as a tool to evoke emotional sentiment of the people and play politics in his favour.

Stating that no BJP ruled state has experienced economic blockade, he said if BJP comes to power in Manipur, it will solve the problem within 48 hours.

PTI