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If I were Okram Ibobi

by Iboyaima Laithangbam
The smouldering wrath of the starving people cannot be directed towards the architects of the crippling blockade for fear of reprisals from some organisations which are frantically trying to quick fix the fragile and tenuous communal harmony. As a result, Okram Ibobi is made the whipping boy. Strangely, the livid people are not attacking the hamstrung opposition members who have shirked their responsibilities and duties in these trying days. Instead of championing the cause of the starving people most of the MLAs are busy making financial preparations for the forthcoming elections or chalking out plans to sock the “social workers” who are likely to wrest the seats from the incumbents. But do not blame it on Ibobi alone. All sections have failed to flex muscles and the newspapermen are not exempt.

To say all these is not to condone the acts of deplorable failures of Okram Ibobi. He has however done the right thing by dodging the NH 39 which has been degenerated to a playground long time back. There had been occasions when the highway was blocked when the telecom services or the erratic power supply were not satisfactory or when some public meetings were held near the highway. While the works executed by the BRO are much below the mark reports say that it has asked the government to suspend vehicular movements as it wants to repair the highway. I would bring it to the notice of the centre since it is easy to put two and two together to make four.

I should have told Revenue Minister Devendra to camp at Jiribam, his constituency to supervise the commercial activities there and to restrain the restive people. Besides all Ministers including those who have drawn flaks with unwarranted remarks against the vehciels owners who queue up for petrol will be asked to camp at different mountain towns and vulnerable areas along NH 37. All available state and central forces will be deployed at the nook and crevice of the highway to ward off supporters of blockade. Divested of the the charges and countercharges what is undeniable is that armed persons are creating problem since even trucks ferrying life saving drugs are torched in front of the state and the central forces. The army and other central forces which were deployed to assist the civil administration should be pressed into service since armed miscreants are making their presence felt.

If the exising forces are not enough to maintain law and order I will rush to Delhi to seek more central forces to ensure unfettered movement of trucks along NH 37. As the performances of the BRO are never satisfactory I will ask the Works Minister to deploy all menpower and machineries along NH 37. The PCC president Gaikhangam will also be asked to camp at Tamenglong, the new trouble spot.

Since there are enough stocks I will ask the price fixation committee to fix the prices of the consumer items much lower than those prevailing before blockade. I have no explanation as to why onion should be sold at Rs 100 or egg at Rs 9. The AMSU campaign which is gathering momentum cannot simply be wished away. In all troubled countries the students had steered the course of dynamics of politics. I cannot tell the press why the students who are asking the traders not to hike prices unreasonably should be harassed and detained since all sections are coming to their rescue. If the crackdown continues in the interest of the well protected and pampered business sharks there will be more troubles. The excuses doled out by the traders for price hike cannot be entertained and elsewhere in the world police and military could not crush the students` uprising.

My government faces blistering criticism for failing to plug the loopholes in the fuel distribution. Only a hundred or so vehicle owners get petrol while the rest have to buy the same at exorbitant rates. There is no dearth of fuel for the ubiquitous roadside vendors. This phenomenon is not seen anywhere and I must tackle it with a firm hand. I will also ask the Minister concerned to desist from making insulting remarks since the vehicle owners are not in the queue just for the game.

Now that the ball is in the court of the UNC and the SHDDC they should hammer out an agreement and the government will attend to the winner of the pyrric victory. Meanwhile Manmohon and Sonia must help me. If Manipur goes to polls in this state of siege the Congress will be defeated. Of course, it is of mere statistical enjoyment that there should be a Congress led Ministry here, this small and insignificant state. The voters of Konthoujam had shown that they can make their resentment known since in those days the disconnection campaign was on. I had to intervene too late.

My silence in the face of the public outcry is defeaning and the situation will soon get out of control. The Hobson`s choice for me is clear and unmistakeable. If the blockade continues my days will be numbered. If the Congress has to come back to power the only way left is to resign after recommending an interregnum of the central rule.
People know I do not buy onion or potato.



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