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Manipur CM Okram Ibobi responsible for economic blockade, says BJP General Secy (NE) Ram Madhav

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) general secretary in charge of north eastern States, Ram Madhav, has accused Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh of causing the economic blockade of the State by the United Naga Council by announcing the formation of seven new districts for purely political reasons.

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, Mr Ram Madhav said while Chief Minister Singh was well within his rights as the head of the government to carve out new districts, he had a “very political objective” behind the move, one that has created a crisis in Manipur.

“State governments have the right to carve out new districts but in this case, the Chief Minister had a very political objective behind this move. The Chief Minister is simply not interested in the other implications of his move, as the suffering of the Meiteis suited him. It is a mobilising factor, politically for him. By creating a divide between the hills and the valley, he wanted to benefit politically; in the process he has created a volatile situation in the State and put the people of the valley through utmost suffering,” Mr Madhav said.

‘Pre-poll exercise’

“He was in power for 15 years and it never occurred to him to declare the formation of new districts, and he comes up with it two months before the elections. He should have known the implications of the move and the chain of events this would set off and exercised control. Now that the blockade has happened, he throws up his hands and asks that it be handled by others,” he said.

On being asked whether he was in favour of Central rule in the State, he said it was a matter to be decided by the State and central governments but that it was “of the utmost importance for normalcy to be restored in the state in order for the conduct of peaceful elections.”

“It is the responsibility of Ibobi Singh, having created a situation where his people in the State, both in the Valley and the hills are suffering due to the blockade to take measures to have it lifted. As the head of the state government has to find a way to do this. From day one, the government of India has been ready to help, but it cannot directly intervene as law and order is a State subject,” he said.

The other northeastern State under his charge, Arunachal Pradesh, recently became the tenth State to be ruled by the BJP after 33 MLAs of the People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), including Chief Minister Pema Khandu crossed over to the BJP. Mr Ram Madhav denied that there was “any inducement” for the cross over.

‘Unstable arrangement’

“For the last many months there has been a sort of unstable arrangement in the State. Initially a large number of MLAs had deserted the Congress and formed a government under (late) Mr Kalikho Pul. A Supreme Court (SC) judgement restored the previous government, under the Congress. At that time itself I had said that the SC judgement had left more questions than answers. So even after the SC judgement, the instability continued. This group then joined a local party called People’s Party of Arunachal (PPA), and formed a government with the BJP. Then majority of the MLAs felt they should join BJP and the national leadership gave the green signal. It’s completely voluntary and we made no efforts to influence this move,” he said.

Source: The Hindu



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