A call for total shutdown by militants made sure that not too many shops were open in Manipur’s capital Imphal. Public transport was off the road on Saturday but that did not stop the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from gathering over 50,000 supporters across the state for an election rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
There were unprecedented scenes on the roads. Entire Imphal turned saffron in an apparent signal to the ruling Congress that the BJP is giving a giving a tough fight to unseat the 15-year-old government.
“Manipur is Switzerland of east. In the last 15 years, Manipur has only seen a downfall. Who is responsible for this? Who destroyed Manipur? Give BJP one chance to serve Manipur. In 15 months, we will do the work that the Congress could not in the last 15 years,” PM Modi asked as he set the tone for a firebrand speech.
Modi promised that if BJP is voted to power, it will bring only development that has eluded the state for past 15 years in Congress regime. The Prime Minister, who is BJP’s face of the campaign in Manipur in his firebrand speech took several jibes at Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh.
“I want to ask the CM of Manipur, were you sleeping for the past year and a half? Now when the election has come then you are spreading false propaganda on Naga deal. Let the people of Manipur decide if they would accept the lies of 15 years of CM, or the truth of 2 and half-year-old PM. The naga deal has no mention of territorial integrity of Manipur. There is not a single word in the accord that goes against the interest of Manipur” PM Modi added.
In every political rally, Manipur chief Minister Ibobi Singh has been accusing the Centre of keeping people of the state unaware of the details of the framework agreement that the Modi government signed in 2015 with NSCN (IM) which has an agenda of integrating Naga areas into a greater Nagalim.
Soon after the PM flew back to New Delhi, CM Ibobi hit back. “It seems that PM Modi did not do his homework correctly. All his allegations are baseless” Ibobi reacted.
(With inputs from Chandrani Sinha/ Prem Chand)