Chapter 23

Ibobi denies knowledge of ‘framework agreement’

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 22

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh challenged to tender his resignation immediately from the CM’s post, if anyone could prove with documents that he is privy of the provisions of the framework agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and the centre. Addressing a one day political conference in Bishnupur district, the Chief Minister leaders of certain political parties in the state have been charging the Chief Minister of being a party to the framework agreement.

The Chief Minister, today, addressed two political conferences in the district at Irengbam Mapal Kangjeibung organised by the Oinam Block Congress and at Ningthoukhong organised by the Bishnupur Block Congress Committee. At one of the conferences, Ibobi said BJP state leader Thounaojam Chaoba has been regularly alleging the Chief Minister of having full knowledge of the provisions of the framework agreement which is nothing but a baseless claim.

Ibobi said if he had in fact participated in any of the meetings as has been alleged, his signatures would have been on paper. Such claims, he said, are made to only fool the people and gain some votes, which is rather unfortunate, he added. Chief Minister Ibobi said we also want a political solution for the NSCN (IM) either through the framework agreement or any other agreement, but we cannot compromise the state territory at any cost.

We always pray to God to bring a permanent solution to the NSCN (IM) issue as more than 80 percent of the outfit’s cadres are from Manipur, the Chief Minister observed. During the earlier regime of the Congress led UPA government, the centre always consulted him for any issues on the peace talk with NSCN (IM) through the then centre’s interlocutor RS Pandey, he said adding that since the BJP led NDA government came to power he has never been consulted on the issue.

He said it is his appeal to the BJP Manipur to request the Prime Minister and the Union Home minister who are both BJP leaders to disclose the provisions of the framework agreement so as to clear the apprehensions in the people’s mind. He said there are times when the Chief Minister of Nagaland expressed concern against menace of the NSCN (IM) including extortion. The CM should urge to his people not to act as such as the IM cadres are all their brothers, he said.

Alleging the Congress to be high in corruption has become the main agenda of the BJP, he said adding all recruitment for high ranking posts in the state have already been handed over to the Manipur Public Service Commission to show the government’s transparency and accountability. Most recruitment for the engineering departments are made through the MPSC whereas that of Education are conducted solely on merit, he said. At the Oinam conference, Ibobi lauded Oinam A/C former Congress candidate O Jiten, who lost to I Ibohalbi in the last election, for his steadfast belief in the party despite Ibohalbi joining the party.

Ibobi assured several development works for the constituency including upgrading Oinam nagar panchayat to municipal council in the next cabinet. He said land record transfer from Wangoi to Oinamis supposed to wait till 2020 due to ban on delimitation of boundaries in the state, however, due to the high pressure from the Oinam MLA it will be completed soon. He said women vegetable vendors of Oinam will be accommodated in the newly constructed Tombisana Market but for the present they will be adjudged temporarily in the Nagamapal area.

The Chief Minister also assured to improve and widen the approach road connecting the highway to Sadu Chiru waterfall in the next budget and that the Oinam Primary Health Centre will soon be upgraded to Community Health Centre. The Chief Minister also asked the local MLA to look for a convenient centre in the constituency so that a school could be upgraded into a higher secondary from the next academic session. Deputy chief minister Gaikhangam also said Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang’s attempt to create a rift among the communities of Manipur will not succeed.

Stating that there are several revolts in Nagaland charging the Nagaland government of being neglecting certain regions of the state, he asked the Nagaland CM to look into the pressing issues confronting his state instead of poking his nose in his neighbour’s issue. The programmes were attended by MPCC president TN Haokip, several party MLAs, minister and more than 10000 supporters.

10 BJP aspirants sign party pledge

Imphal Free Press

UKHRUL | October 22

In what could be read as a bold and significant move putting to rest speculations about whether many among those seeking BJP tickets for the 2017 state Assembly election in the district will go for an independent bid should they fail to get party tickets, a total of 10 aspiring candidates of the party from the three Assembly constituencies of Ukhrul district pledged their allegiance to the BJP and its principles today. The pledge was taken during a one day district level BJP political awareness and poster campaign cum public platform for aspiring candidates being organised by the district party executive for the ensuing 11th State elections held at Ukhrul town hall today.

Out of the 15 aspiring candidates who are currently vying for BJP tickets in the district,  Dr  Khashim Ruivah, Aza A Shimray, Sword Vashum, Ningkhalem Shimray from Chingai Assembly constituency, Wungshim Angkang and Somi Awungshi from Phungyar AC; and Soso Shaiza, Somatai Shaiza, Worthington Mahung and Ngakuimiza Asai from Ukhrul AC signed the BJP pledge and took the oath to abide by it in the presence of Ukhrul BJP president Thotthing Kashung and two BJP councillors HA Vareishang and Mark Luithing.

NPF pledges to safeguard land

The Sangai Express

Chandel, October 22 2016: The Naga People’s Front, Manipur State unit has pledged to defend and safeguard the ancestral land of the tribals at all cost. This was highlighted during a “One-Day Political Conference” organised by the Naga People’s Front, Chandel division today at Leingangching village, Chandel district.

The conference was attended by leaders of NPF Manipur State Unit (NPF-MSU) led by its president Awangbow Newmai, leaders of various tribe organisations led by Ws Kanral, president of Chandel Naga People’s Organisation(CNPO), youth leaders, women, Churches and village authorities from the surrounding villages. Speaking at the conference, Awangbow Newmai reminded the public on the need to defend and safeguard the ancestral land of the tribals at all cost.

He appealed to the public to support the ongoing Indo-Naga political dialogue. In his speech, he ridiculed the political parties of the State for the scathing attack on TR Zeliang on his speech at the 1st Conference of Naga Village Authority of South Nagalim on October 19 at Yaikongpao, Senapati district.

“The CM of Nagaland was speaking about the rights of the tribals enshrined in the Constitution.

What is wrong in the speech”, asked Awangbow. He added that their attack is not only on the CM of Nagaland but also on the tribals of Manipur. He then appealed to the public to support the Naga People’s Front which is a political party committed to solving the Indo-Naga political problem. He assured that NPF will also strive for a separate budget for the hills after the general election of 2017.

Hopeson Chothe and Ringo Dilbung, ADC members of 9-Purum and 10-Aihang respectively, Morung Makunga, advisor, NPF-MSU and Henya Liirina, president of Women Wing of NPF-MSU also spoke on the ‘historical rights’ of tribals over their land and their political/Constitutional rights under Article 371C.

Ibobi confident of 4th term in office

The Sangai Express / IANS

Imphal, October 22 2016: Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh who has scripted a political history as the first and only leader who is going to complete 3 consecutive terms. has exuded confidence of coming back to power for the fourth time. Speaking exclusively to IANS, Ibobi said, “We have done several developmental works for which all sections of people have stood by us in good stead.

For the first time Congress was the only party which secured 42 seats in the 60 member House in the last Assembly elections. Our strength was eventually increased to 51”. He admitted that at least 3 MLAs had resigned and joined BJP. “I do not understand since they had been Ministers for at least 10 years. But their departure is not worrisome to us” .

His first Ministry was installed on March 7, 2002 after 277 days of President’s Rule. The total budget outlay was Rs 550 crore with an opening deficit of Rs 557.68 crore. “There was a lukewarm response to our SOS appeal. I was not given appointments by the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister” .

Once Manmohon Singh became the Prime Minister on May 27, 2004 a helping hand was extended. “Apart from generous assistances there was special package of Rs 2777.68 crore. We could undertake various developmental projects which are there for the people to see”, he added. Manipur spends Rs 320 crore in a month on salary and pensions. The Government will pay salary to the employees and pensioners before the social festival, Ningol Chakkouba, which falls on November 1 .

He said, “The simple reason for the inordinate delay in the completion of the ongoing projects is the recurring blockades, strikes and wild cat shutdowns. If people do away with this strike culture projects can be completed on time”. On the June 18, 2001 uprising, Ibobi said that the destroyed items and buildings have been repaired. But the 18 persons who were killed shall never return, he added. “Now the NDA Government has signed a Framework Agreement with the NSCN (IM). The Government is keeping the cards close to the chest and is not putting it on the public domain.

What is the meaning of this secrecy ?” he asked. There is a dramatic improvement in the power supply position in Manipur following the installation of the pre-paid system, said Ibobi and claimed that Manipur has become a role model in power sector. There is uninterrupted power supply in most parts of the State now, he added. “Our achievements in the last 15 years are not imaginary and in appreciation the people will send us back to power”, he said.

Fifteen years in the hot seat Ibobi : Man of the moment ?

The Sangai Express Editorial 22 October 2016

Not that he has ever been out of the news but the manner in which Chief Minister O Ibobi is right now occupying prime space in the State newspapers and the local TV channels is noteworthy. Unlike others, the Chief Minister is hogging the limelight for all the right reasons and this is a welcome change. Refreshing to note the dignified manner in which he has gone about giving it back word for word to the nonsensical talks of Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang.

Learn the history of Manipur and the North East is the sage advice of the Chief Minister to TR Zeliang and if the man from Nagaland has any sense he should digest this not from the sense of flipping through the school history text books but know the past and present of Manipur and of course his home State Nagaland. Maybe he can take a leaf or two from Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam who himself is a Naga. Map of Manipur cannot be redrawn. Another interesting and obvious observation from the Chief Minister in the backdrop of the ongoing peace talk between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM).

Wonder how TR Zeliang and the Naga frontal organisations will take the dignified but firm observation of the Chief Minister but undeniable that the man from Thoubal Assembly Constituency has delivered an important point. Good to note that this is happening at this point of time wherein he is set to complete a record period of 15 years in the chair of the Chief Minister.

15 years and that too at a stretch without a break in between and clearly Okram Ibobi Singh will find a place in the political history of Manipur when it is written a few decades from now.

Originally from Khangabok Assembly Constituency, no one would have thought that Ibobi would go on to become the Chief Minister of Manipur, leave alone scripting a sort of history as the longest serving Chief Minister of the State. However lady luck did smile on him when results of the 2002 Assembly election started trickling in. Not at all likely that he would have become the Chief Minister if Rishang Keishing had won the election from Phungyar Assembly Constituency in 2002.

That was not to be as the veteran political leader and the man with the longest tenure as the Chief Minister of Manipur back then in 2002 was upset by the late Wungnaoshang Keishing. Moreover remember other heavy weights of the Congress, such as Radhabinod Koijam, Dr Nimaichand Luwang and others had left the Congress. That left the field free for O Ibobi to be anointed the Chief Minister. Plus his loyalty to the Congress must have been taken note of by the AICC leadership.

Moreover remember the stringent anti-defection Bill was introduced and passed in the Lok Sabha when there was a strong revolt against his leadership with rebel Congress MLAs setting up camps at Kolkata and Delhi. From then on it has been the Congress and O Ibobi all along and while it still remains to be seen how history treats him, the important question is whether people will remember O Ibobi merely as the longest serving Chief Minister of the State or as one of the better Chief Ministers.

Let the people decide.

Union HM drills State Government over misuse of 13th Finance Commission awards

Imphal Times

Imphal, October 21 2016: Union Ministry of Home Affairs has seriously taken the misuse of fund by the state government which was sanction as grant under the 13th Finance Commission.

A reliable source said that the Union Home Ministry has turned down all justification regarding the utilization of the grant by the state government authority as no supportive evidences could be submitted till today. The source further added that on July first week this year the Union Home Ministry officials had intimated the state government authority to furnish details of how the fund sanction under the 13th Finance Commission as grant has been utilized by the state government.

A similar letter to furnish the report was again sent to the state government I July last week this year. The Union home Ministry has been looking into the matter as according to a complaint filed to the ministry against the misuse of fund sanctioned under the 13th Finance commission. Under the 13th finance commission a sum of Rs 8 crores has been awarded for Development and Maintenance of Kangla Fort; Rs.10 crores for Renovation and Maintenance of Raj Bhavan; Rs.84.00 crore for Upgradation of Manipur Police Training School (Pangei) to Manipur Police Training College (MPTC); Rs.23 crore for constructions and renovation of Infrastructure for Police Stations in Rural and Remote Areas; Rs.25 crores for for upgradation of internal roads , sewerage and drainage etc.

under Border Area Development; Rs 100 crores as Special Upgradation Grants for Sports and Rs.51 crores for procurement of Infrastructure for Autonomous District Councils. Mentioned may be made that the award under 14 Finance commission for the Autonomous council has been cancelled as the newly form Nitti Ayog has approved such grant for panchayat and urban local bodies only.

CM sets to visit Ukhrul

Imphal Times

Imphal, October 21 2016: Despite boycott by TNL, CM Ibobi is set to visit Ukhrul to attend various inaugural functions on Oct 24.The Chief Minister Tour will depart from Kangla Helipad by chopper and will land at Pakshi Ground of Ukhrul. In his visit various projects including district hospital of Hundung SDO/BDO office, 33/11 kV Substation of Khunchao and 132/33 KV Substation of Hundung will be inaugurated. The CM will return back on the same day evening.

NPP to play big role in Manipur

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 21

The National People’s Party (NPP) which originated from Manipur will play a very vital role in the future of Manipur, observed national president of the party Conrad Sangma today. Sangma was speaking at a one-day political conference of the party cum reception programme of newly join members at Tiddim Road opposite ISCKON. He said NPP has no interest in playing any political games, but we are here genuinely to work for the people.

He said NPP is a partner of the National Democratic Alliance and North East Democratic Alliance. Sangma continued he has been witness to many critical issues confronting the North East region including Manipur for the last many years. He observed Manipur is a complicated state with complicated issues. These issues can be solved only when right thinking politicians who have the will and intention come and work together, he added.

Some of the issues like the ILP and the reservation deadlock in Manipur University are very complicated issues, he said adding we need the right mindset and right leaders with the right intention in their hearts to solve these issues. We have witnessed a high corruption rate even in police recruitment in the state, he said, adding it is time for Manipur to bring a change.

If the party work sincerely for the people, it will grow automatically, he said urging people to join the party. Sangma also approved the joining of new members G Satyabati Devi, Dr Ph Jilasana, Sanasam Thoiba, Sanasam Meme, Thockchom Matouleibi Devi, Sushil Huidrom legal advisor to party and other leaders into NPP.

We have lots of work to do and we have to prepare for a big battle, he said referring to the 2017 election. NPP Manipur president and ex-minister Thangminlien Kipgen said that in the issue of ILP, 10 people of state have been killed which is very unfortunate. But till today the three MPs of state have not spoken on the issue of ILP in Parliament, he lamented.

He further said the Chief Minister has been saying in meeting after meeting on the ILP issue that he is visiting the national capital and urging the centre to implement the ILP in the state, does he think that the non-locals in New Delhi will implement an act which is against non-locals. Ibobi will now certainly say that his government is willing to implement the Act in the state but the BJP is against it in his election agenda, he observed. How can the CM urge the centre to implement the ILP without first consulting all communities, he demanded.

The NPP, he said, has no culture of “high command.” We don’t go to the high command, the high command comes to us, he observed. “Let us unite together and consult all the issues unanimously,” he said. Let us make Delhi depend on us and not vice-versa,” said Thangminlien. All the UGs and others are depended on Delhi, this is no way to bring any resolution for both the hills and the valley, he said, adding that the voice of only a few Kukis and Nagas shouldn’t be considered the voice of the public. We are still Manipur and we will protect the integrity of the state, he said adding, let the other dream whatever they like, but it will not be fulfilled.

NPF responds to Ibobi, O Joy

By Leivon Jimmy
Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 21

The Naga People’s Front (NPF) Manipur state unit countering the attack launch on Nagaland CM TR Zeliang for his speech delivered in Yaikongpao, suggested Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh too should carefully study the history of the India particularly the North Eastern region to understand Zeliang.

Speaking to IFP, NPF Manipur state unit president, Awangbou Newmai, said the Naga are looking for a peace settlement as enough lives have been lost in this process. Acknowledging the true desire of the Nagas, the Prime Minister and Home Minister of India are putting serious effort in finding a permanent solution to the political issue of the Nagas, he said. However, it was very unfortunate that all of the leaders of Manipur including Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh fail to regard the sentiment of the Nagas, he opined.

It is very surprising that the Chief Minister, Ibobi and veteran politician O Joy Singh, are against any peaceful settlement of the Nagas, said Awangbou Newmai. Further reacting to O Joy’s statement to lodge a criminal case against TR Zeliang, he observed that the veteran politician was completely ignorant of the law of the land. In a democratic set up like India any leader of a political party can express their desires anywhere within the country, said Newmai.

The NFP president questioned why were the two prominent political figures of Manipur against peace? It would be more befitting to file a criminal case against Ibobi and O Joy for they don’t endorse peace, he said.

Will the Lotus Bloom in Manipur?

Imphal Free Press editorial by Leivon Jimmy, 22 October 2016

After the massive victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Assam Assembly election bringing a bitter end to the 15 years rule of congress government led by Tarun Gogoi, all eyes are on Manipur as it is likely to go to poll by February 2017. The congress government of Manipur under the leadership of Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, will be completing its fifteen years in 2017 having survived onslaughts from various quarters including the Modi wave that swept across the country and also the internal conflict within the party. The fall of Congress in Assam, that remained undisputed for three consecutive terms, has changed the perception of the entire political scenario in the region marred by ton of questions.

The one prominent and obvious question of all is can the lotus bloom in Manipur? The answer to the question has become a great interest of the entire nation yet challenging one even for the political think tank to answer at this point of time. Can the BJP’s mantra work in Manipur like it did in Assam to overthrow the ‘indomitable’ Okram Ibobi and regime? Will the victory in Assam help bring any change in Manipur? etc are questions constantly ringing in the minds of the people and politicians alike.

Nevertheless, the count-down to the ‘clash of the titans’ has begun. Both the parties has rolled up its sleeves and preparing for the bout of the century in the election history of Manipur. The congress party in Manipur apparently has been inflicted with a heavy blow with three of its senior legislators left the party and joined rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the run up to the poll. The joining of the senior congress legislator to BJP although jolted the Congress party but it was not an absolute surprise rather it amplifies the so called ‘conspiracy theory’ allegedly brewing between the dissident congress MLAs since the past few months.

For the BJP this is the biggest score ever after the joining of two former MLAs of Trinamool Congress last year and a shot in the arm in their ‘Congress Mukth’ campaign in the North Eastern region. The biggest risk taker and torch bearer of the entire conspiracy was Erabot, for his exodus has paved ways for fellow dissident. Nongthombam Biren, arguably could be the gravest threat to the congress party for his significant role in the Congress dissident group having about 20 MLAs. And, if BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, words are true that more will follow suit congress should prepare for the worse.

Even if the calculation of BJP is true the question still remains can it deliver what it wants, to overthrow the 15 years old congress rule in Manipur. Despite the count of dissident with 22 MLAs, Ibobi still have the upper hand with over 30 MLAs including the four former Trinamool, half of the majority (60 seats). After the exit of Th Chaoba, former Union Minister, as the president of BJP Manipur Pradesh, Kh Bhavananda, a new face to the political arena of the state took charge as the president of the ambitious party, determine to bring down a giant (congress) in its own stronghold.

Although the change in leadership raised eyebrows amongst a handful of senior party members no objection was openly raised to the decision entirely made by central leadership. While the question of contested leadership lingers, distribution of party tickets is another issue within BJP since the resurgence of the party with the party rose into power in the centre. Now that the election is closing fast the ticket issue could unfold more interesting drama. However, having said that nothing can be predictable at the present stage.

Ibobi tongue lashes TR Zeliang ; Learn the history of Manipur and NE : CM

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 20 2016: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has stated that Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang has been ruling Nagaland at the diktats of an organisation based in Nagaland. He was speaking at the inaugural function of an MGNREGA Mela and a newly constructed SIRD office at Imphal East DC office complex, Porompat today.

The MGNREGA Mela was organised by the Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj. RD&PR Minister M Okendro, Parliamentary Secretary Md Amin Shah, RD&PR Secretary Sumant Singh and other top ranking officials were also present at the inaugural function. Referring to his Nagaland counterpart’s visit to the State yesterday but without naming TR Zeliang, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi stated that some people were re-visiting the history of Manipur without knowing it thoroughly.

Rather than working for the development of their home State, they were invited by anti-social elements and they were speaking what they were told to speak by the anti-social elements. What the Nagaland Chief Minister was advocating was something impractical which would never see the light of day. Unlike Nagaland, Manipur is not a State which is ruled with the blessing and mercy of anti-social elements, Ibobi asserted. All the communities settled in Manipur have been living in peace and harmony since time immemorial. Manipur does not crave for any piece of land from neighbouring States and Myanmar.

At the same time, no one should ever think about taking away even an inch of Manipur’s territory for it is something which can never be realised, Ibobi stated. The Nagaland Chief Minister should first go through the histories of Manipur and the other North Eastern States, he said. Manipur was an independent kingdom before it was merged into the Indian Union. Ibobi stated that he was taken by surprise when TR Zeliang spewed venoms of hatred and animosity among different communities of Manipur.

He added that the State Government would work to raise the honorariums of Gram Panchayats, Zilla Parishads and District Councils which were last revised in 2005. MGNREGA which is now enforced in all the nine districts of Manipur was first launched in Tamenglong district. It would make remarkable contribution in combating climate change if massive reforestation activities and water harvesting measures are taken up under MGNREGA, Ibobi stated.

RD&PR Minister M Okendro stated that there are five lakh MGNREGA job card holders in the State and 4.8 lakh households have been benefiting from the scheme. To deal with construction of roads and bridges under PMGSY exclusively, a Rural Engineering Department has been set up under RD&PR Department. The department would take up 392 works programmes under PMGSY. For these works which would be distributed across the hills and valley of the State, the Central Government has sanctioned Rs 2500 crore. Later, the Chief Minister gave away prizes to the most diligent Gram Panchayats and village authorities.

Ibobi looks back at 15 yrs journey of Cong Govt

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 20 2016: Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has assured to pay the salary of October before the Ningol Chakkouba and Kut festivals. Speaking to The Sangai Express, O Ibobi, who is set to complete a record third term in the office of the Chief Minister, recollected the journey of the Congress party in Manipur. The Chief Minister said that the achievements and problems faced during the uninterrupted 15 years rule of the party will be produced before the public soon and added that the Government is preparing the list of developmental works undertaken during his rule.

The ruling Congress that formed a coalition Government in 2002 will be completing its third term (15 year) soon. Okram Ibobi Singh became the Chief Minister of Manipur on March 7, 2002.Before the Congress led SPF Government was formed, Manipur was under President’s rule for 277 days. When his Government came to power, Manipur was knee deep in financial crisis, he recalled. The total budget of the State stood at Rs 550 crore against the Rs 557.68 crore deficit.

“One possible reason for the deficit could be the implementation of the 5th Pay Commission”, the Chief Minister said.

The State Government approached the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Finance Minister Jaswant Singh for financial assistance but the request was not received well. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi stationed at New Delhi for a whole week waiting for an appointment with either the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister.

Running out of options, the Chief Minister met Congress president Sonia Gandhi who asked former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to arrange a meeting with the Finance Minister. The same day Chief Minister Okram Ibobi along with Manmohan Singh, met the Finance Minister at his office chamber. At the meeting, the Finance Minister inquired how much the total deficit was, the Chief Minister recounted. After showing him all the facts and numbers of the financial crisis, the Finance Minister sanctioned a sum of Rs 120 crore for the State the same day.

“The financial and the law and order condition of the State was in a mess when I took office”, the Chief Minister said.

In 2004, the UPA Government came to power and Dr Manmohan Singh was appointed the Prime Minister of India.

The same year on November 20, the newly appointed Prime Minister paid a historic visit to Manipur. The same day, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh handed over the sacred Kangla, which had been occupied by the Assam Rifles decades, to the people. “It wasn’t the doing of the Government alone. The protests and struggles of the civil society organisations and political parties were finally heard with the UPA Government at the Centre”, the Chief Minister said.

The Prime Minister during his visit also laid the foundation stones of various capital projects including the construction of a State Assembly, High Court complex and Civil Secretariat. A special package of Rs 2777.68 crore for the Jiribam-Tupul-Imphal Railway line, capitol projects, construction and repair of Maram-Parel road and 16 other link roads, renovation of District Headquarters and ADC head quarters were also announced, the CM recalled.

Dolaithabi Project and Thoubal Multi Purpose project was later added to the special package after consideration. Today, the projects are almost completed and it is one of the greatest achievements of the Government, the CM said.

“I won’t delve deep, but the package also proposed the upgradation of Sports Academy, Khuman Lampak Sports Complex and Manipur University to Central level”, he said.

In his second visit to the State in 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the establishment of a Sports Academy at Khuman Lampak, construction of City Convention Centre.

“The public must be aware that the law and order situation of the State has improved considerably.

The State is largely dependent on the Centre owing to our lack of resources. Therefore, we must use the sanctioned funds wisely”, the CM said. To aid the umemployed people of the State, the Government has introduced Manipur Start Up Policy. Under the Policy, the State Government guides and provides financial assistance to people who have innovative ideas but does not have the resources to start a business on their own, he said.

The Chief Minister while appealing to the people of Manipur to support the Congress party said the problems of unemployment and water shortage will be addressed if the people return the Congress to power for another term.

Ibobi admonishes Zeliang for Yaikongpao speech

IMPHAL | October 20

Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang rubbed Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh the wrong way with his inflammatory speech made during the first conference of the Naga Village authorities yesterday at Yaikongpao (Tagaramphung) in Senapati district.

Directing his fire towards Zeliang, Chief Minister Ibobi said “TR Zeliang, you should understand the history of this country and the north east, especially that of Manipur before interfering in someone else’s affair.”

He urged Zeliang to mind his own business instead of poking his nose into other people’s business. Ibobi was speaking after inaugurating the newly constructed State Institute of Rural Development (SIRD), complex at Porompat, Imphal East and the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA Mela-2016 today.

“Manipur has never been and never will be greedy to eye land of our neighbours,” Chief Minister Ibobi said reminding Zeliang to act the same.

Zeliang’s speech was anti-national and provoking enough to create misunderstanding among the different innocent communities in a multi-ethnic state like Manipur, he observed. Manipur is unlike Nagaland – a state which cannot be ruled independently without the blessings of anti-social elements, Ibobi said. Ibobi expressed “pity” for Zeliang’s speech which he said was “anti-national” and made without any proper knowledge of the land’s history.

“You should understand that Manipur was never a part of either India or Assam until Manipur merged with India in 1949. Manipur got independence from the British even before India got its independence. Manipur had its own king with a unique history which is completely different from that of your state,” he maintained.

Chief Minister Ibobi also said his government shall consider revising the honorarium of the gram panchayat, zilla parishad and district council members which was last revised in 2005. He said that the MGNREGA was first launched in the country in 2006 including at Tamenglong district of Manipur. Now the Act has been implemented in the entire state covering all the nine districts, he said and added, by taking up water harvesting along with tree plantation etc. under this scheme we can also face the climate change.

Rural Development and Panchayati Raj minister M Okendro Singh who presided over the function said that there are more than five lakh job card holders in the state benefiting around 4.8 lakh families. He said that the state government is targeting to provide 70-80 per cent man-days under MGNREGA in the year 2016-17.

He further said that to undertake the construction of bridges and roads under PMGSY Scheme a Rural Engineering Department has been instituted from this year under RD and PR which is now fully functional. This department will take up a total of 392 works under PMGSY in both hill and valley for which the centre has sanctioned around Rs.2500 crores, he said appealing to the people for their cooperation.

As a part of the function best performing Gram Panchayats and Village Authorities of all the nine districts of Manipur were given awards which included a memento, a citation and cash award. Parliamentary secretary (MOBC &SC) Md Amin Shah and RD and PR secretary Sumant Singh attended the function as the guests of honour and adhyakshas of Zilla Parishads of  the valley districts and chairmen of ADCs of hill districts and prof N Mohendro Singh, former member steering committee, NER Vision 2020, DoNER, government of India attended as special guests.

 The function was organised by the Department of Rural Development & Panchayati Raj, Govt. of Manipur.

File criminal case against TR Zeliang: O Joy

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 20

The state BJP leader, O Joy, coming down heavily against Nagaland Chief Minister, TR Zeliang’s speech at Yaikongpao, Senapati yesterday, has demanded that the state government should file criminal case against him. O Joy was speaking at a press conference held at the Nityaipat Chuthek office of BJP here today. He maintained that the Nagaland Chief Minister’s speech was unconstitutional, and deemed to incite hatred among communities. BJP will fight to protect the territorial boundary of the state, he added.

He expressed surprise on the part of the state government to declare Zeliang as the state guest, whose purpose of visit was clearly mentioned in the invitation card of the function held yesterday. “The word ‘south Nagaland’ is starkly mentioned in the card and it is unfortunate that the state government has given consent without any reaction”, he said.

Th Bishwajit, MLA Thongju, said the government is already aware of the circulation of the said invitation card of the function held in connection with the agenda of ‘South Nagalim’, but it has been maintaining silence unfortunately. N Biren, former MLA who recently joined the party said BJP will never compromise on the issue of territorial integrity of Manipur. He further alleged that the Congress party has been paying lip-service as far as protection of the state boundary is concerned.

 He continued that there is no restriction for the Chief Minister of Nagaland to propagate cultural identity in any part of the state, but he must be cautious not to disturb its political boundary. N Mangi spokesperson of BJP said that the state Chief Minister must convene a Cabinet meeting on the matter and resolutely express condemnation over the statement of Zeliang. The state must be firm on its stand in dealing with such divisive element, like the way it had been during NSCN-IM leader Muivah’s attempt visit into the state, he added.

BJP demands registration of criminal case; State BJP takes Zeliang to task

 The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 20 2016: BJP Manipur Pradesh has asked the Government of Manipur to register a criminal case against Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang for spewing venoms among the people with a sinister design to disintegrate Manipur as well as India. Speaking to media persons at their Nityaipat Chuthek office today, BJP Manipur Pradesh spokesman O Joy said that if someone was speaking with a malicious intention to disturb the territorial integrity of a State, befitting action can be taken up against him as per the law even if he is a Chief Minister.

With the Nagaland Chief Minister as chief guest, a meeting of Naga village authorities was held yesterday at Yaikongpao ground and the main agenda of the meeting was South Nagalim. The agenda of South Nagalim has the potential to disintegrate both India and Manipur. It is a conspiracy hatched by a handful of Nagas to disintegrate Manipur and create animosity among different communities of the North East region, he said.

Creation of animosities between peoples of two neighbouring States cannot be an element of governance. After crossing into the State of Manipur, the Nagaland Chief Minister adopted a resolution which can disintegrate Manipur. It was a matter of serious concern that the Government of Manipur remained silent when the Nagaland Chief Minister was invited to the State with an agenda of South Nagalim. The State Government should have never accorded the status of a State Guest to TR Zeliang, Joy said.

If some leaders within the Congress Government have similar intention of disintegrating Manipur and if they were abetting TR Zeliang’s sinister design, it would never go well.

Recalling BJP leader Ram Madhav’s assurance that not an inch of the territory of Manipur would be ceded, O Joy said that BJP would not accept any solution worked out between the Government of India and NSCN-IM if it infringes upon the territorial integrity of Manipur. Ex-MLA N Biren who joined BJP recently said that the State Government should adopt a non-negotiable position with regard to the territorial integrity of Manipur.

One cannot sign any document which endorses Naga integration while shouting that the territorial integrity of Manipur should not be compromised. He said that he joined BJP as he was convinced by the party leadership’s assurance to safeguard the territorial integrity of Manipur. He went on to question as to why the Nagaland Chief Minister was declared as the State Guest when he came to the State with South Nagalim as his primary agenda.

N Mangi, another spokesman of BJP Manipur Pradesh maintained there is no such as thing as South Nagalim inside the territory of Manipur. He asked the State Government as to why TR Zeliang was not barred from entering Manipur even after knowing his agenda as was done in the case of NSCN-IM general secretary Th Muivah. MLA Th Bishwajit said the claim for South Nagalim would create a huge rupture between the hills and the valley of Manipur. As Ram Madhav has ruled out any pre-poll alliance ahead of the Manipur Legislative Assembly election, there is no question of forging any alliance with NPF, Bishwajit added.

Now Delhi an ally, Imphal an adversary: From bush war to dialogue

The Sangai Express Editorial, 20 October 2016

From an armed group waging a bush war against the Indian security forces to now engaged in a political dialogue with New Delhi, the NSCN (IM) has certainly come a long way and to many, especially to many Naga people, the outfit is today more of a political entity pursuing a political goal on behalf of the Nagas.
Just how representative is the NSCN (IM) of the Naga people may be open to debate for there are other armed outfits, especially the Khaplang faction of the NSCN, which have taken up arms on behalf of the Naga people.  But this is besides the point and it stands true that today the NSCN (IM) is something much more than an armed outfit and engaged with the Government of India in a political dialogue since 1997. This is nearly twenty years and is a long period by any stretch of the imagination.

With the outfit and the Government of India inking the Framework Agreement on August 3 last year, the feel good factor which has enveloped the Naga civil societies is palpable and this seems to have given them a new lease of life, which is best exemplified by the 1st Conference of the Naga Village Authority (Custodians of ancestral land) and the Naga People of South Nagalim held at Tagaramphung (Yaikongpao) in Senapati district on October 19 this year. Not surprisingly the Conference was organised by the United Naga Council and stuck to the earlier stand to sever all political ties with the Government of Manipur.

Five points were adopted in the Declaration arrived at after the Conference and not surprisingly the Government of Manipur continues to be dubbed a ‘communal Government’. More than obvious that the Conference centred around the demand of integration of all Naga inhabited areas under one political entity and this is clearly reflected in its observation, ‘.. for it has become impossible to live under the present hegemonic and oppressive political system of the communal Government of Manipur.’ This is the observation of almost all the Naga civil societies of Manipur and this is more than an indication that any agreement that is inked between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India may adversely hurt the interest of the Government of Manipur. 
By extension, this may be taken to mean that such an understanding will be against the people of Manipur. This is what is worrying. Why should an agreement between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) on behalf of the Naga people adversely impact on Manipur?

Only Delhi and to an extent the NSCN (IM) can answer this question. In many ways this also points to the fact that after the NSCN (IM) inked the truce pact with Delhi, Imphal became its adversary. Peace with one entity and hostility with another. This is how the dice has rolled and it does not say anything good for anyone.

‘PRJA’, can it become another AAP
Imphal Times Editorial 20 October 2016

Though 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly is just 100 or more days to go, it is still early to tell whether PRJA , the new political party floated by Irom Chanu Sharmila will be able to become another AAP which defeated both congress and the BJP at New Delhi in last Delhi Assembly election. Until recently there are many critics about her decision to contest the election, even as her decision to change strategy fighting for repeal of AFSPA has been supported. There were speculations among the people that Sharmila may join some major political parties or fight the election as independent candidates. The recent move of the AFSPA crusader to accumulate likeminded people and form a political party to fight the upcoming election can be perhaps considered a good decision.

India had witness emergence of a new political party called the Aam Adami Party (AAP) borne out of the mass campaign against corruption in the country. Fighting corruption is the cause of the party led by Delhi Chief Minister and he gained massive support from people across the capital city making his party getting a landslide victory. Arvind Kejriwal had succeeded because people of Delhi were fed up of corruption. Moreover, the strategic preparation for the AAP for fighting the then ruling Congress Party as well as the emerging BJP was excellent.

Co-operation among the AAP members by understanding how election campaigns are being conducted is the main reason for its success. Coming back to Irom Chanu Sharmila’s new political party called Peoples’ Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), every political analyst sees similarity between the new political party formed by Sharmila and the AAP.  The only difference is that Sharmila form political party to contest election as she is confident that if she wins she will be able to repeal the draconian act AFSPA.

Every Manipuri hate AFSPA and every good citizen of the country want to repeal the draconian act. Even the former prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh called it as “inhumane act”. But the question is, what if she defeated? A deeper look in ground electoral politics suggested that winnable chance of Irom Sharmila at Thoubal Assembly Constituency where the Chief Minister Okram Ibobi is contesting is zero. Not because people of Thoubal want AFSPA but because election in Manipur is dependent on one to one personal relationships and not on issues. 15 years, Okram Ibobi rule as Chief Minister and there is no doubt that in these fifteen years he had established good relations with required voters to win the election.

Manipur is a poor state and 80 persons don’t care who is contesting, but cares about who is cleaning the drain, black topping the roads, providing contract works and more importantly who is feeding their needs. Sharmila is a pious lady who believed in truth and only truth. She had protested evils without drinking even a single drop of water for 16 years. One wanders how she will manage the inevitable relationship with voters. Of course many will come to her support but will not reach the mark. This is said because only 10% really do care about the country. Saying so it is not discouragement to Sharmila, her party could win if she leads the new political party without contesting the election but by fielding some popular candidates in all the 60 constituencies.

PRJA indeed is the need of the hour but its defeat will also mean defeat of the people. Once again it is requested to Irom Sharmila to reconsider contesting election, instead field some supporters and remain as a party icon. Wait for people who will come to get PRJA tickets once the major political party BJP and Congress announced their candidate. Winning a single sit of this political party will tell the world that Sharmila is marching ahead. We hope you live beyond petty electoral politics of Manipur.

AMUCO censures Zeliang’s visit
The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 19 2016: The All Manipur United Clubs’ Organisation (AMUCO) has lambasted Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang’s visit to the State. Accusing TR Zeliang of polarising people on ethnic lines in his home State of Nagaland, AMUCO asserted that his visit to the State was aimed at provoking communal conflagration in Manipur. Speaking to media persons at their Kwakeithel office this afternoon, AMUCO president Ph Deban said that Zeliang’s presence at a public meeting held today at Yaikongpao had a hidden agenda to disunite the people of Manipur on communal lines.

Pointing out the demand for Union Territory raised by the Eastern Nagas of Nagaland, Deban said that the Nagaland Chief Minister was making undue interference in the affairs of Manipur rather than focusing his attention in the affairs of his home State. Further stating that TR Zeliang was a key player in disintegrating the Naga Hoho, the AMUCO president asked how he (TR Zeliang) could bring peace and unity among the Nagas of Manipur. He further advised the Nagaland Chief Minister to share his empathy with the Nagas of Eastern Nagaland instead of worrying for the Nagas of Manipur unnecessarily.

TR Zeliang need not worry for the Nagas of Manipur for all communities settled in Manipur have been living in peace and harmony. TR Zeliang’s visit to the State was also aimed at exploiting the natural resources (both underground and overground) of Manipur in cahoot with the Government of India, NSCN-IM and MNCs. The meeting held at Yaikongpao was a deceitful one and the Nagas of Manipur were aware about. They remained silent out of fear.

Referring to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s statement that the Framework Agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM has reached the final stage, Deban said that AMUCO would not raise a single voice of objection when a final solution is worked out in the best interest of the two entities provided it is confined to the State of Nagaland.

However, AMUCO would not remain silent if the solution challenges the integrity of Manipur in any manner. AMUCO has been closely monitoring the political dialogue going on between Government of India and NSCN-IM. The historic civil movement of June 2001 was invited by the then NDA Government and again it was the BJP led NDA Government which signed the Framework Agreement last year, he pointed out. AMUCO is committed to the territorial integrity of Manipur, Deban said and added that they can go to any length to safeguard the integrity of the State.

BJP whips Cong with graft whip

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 19 2016: Whipping the Congress Government with the corruption whip, State BJP president K Bhabananda today asserted that poor, educated young people stand no chance of getting gainful employment as the Government always demands a pound of flesh at the time of job recruitment. Speaking at the one day district Mahila conference organised by BJP Mahila Morcha, Thoubal, Bhabananda said that every job comes with a high price tag and people are forced to sell their landed properties to land any paying job.

The Congress Government has mastered the art of committing daylight robbery, he said and added that the time has come for the people to boot out the Congress. Questioning what schemes the Congress Government has launched for the benefits of the people, the BJP leader said that Chief Minister O Ibobi is concerned only with giving out contract works, deducting percentages and fattening his bank balance.

To root out the Congress Government and instal a Government which will work for the welfare of the people, it is important that the people support the BJP when election comes, he added. Striking a confident pose, Bhabananda said that the victory of the BJP is a certainty when election to the 11th Assembly is held in the early part of next year. Claiming that India has made tremendous stride under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP National president Amit Shah after the BJP led Government came to power in 2014, Bhabananda said that Manipur too needs to elect the BJP to power to join the race to development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched a number of schemes to help farmers and the poorer section of the people, but since the Congress Government here has not given them the needed publicity, the people do not know about the schemes and hence remain deprived, he added. A number of State BJP leaders including its spokesperson O Indira, BJP Mahila Thoubal district president Th Sorojini, former president of the State BJP Sh Shantishwor Sharma and a large number of womenfolk from Thoubal turned up for the meeting.

MPP leaders bound for Triennial Conference

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 19 2016: A three member team of Manipur People’s Party (MPP) led by its president N Sobhakiran have left Imphal for Bangladesh today to participate at the 20th Triennial Conference of Bangladeshi Awami League. In a statement, the party informed that the conference will be held from October 21 to October 24 adding that the party president will address on the prevailing status of the indigenous people in the State and the socio-political conditions of the State. MPP general secretary Machang Soibam and general secretary (administration) K Krishnachandra Singh were also in the team, the statement added.

Naga villages were never under Meitei kingdom: Zeliang

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 19

Nagaland chief minister T. R. Zeliang today asked why Manipur government is not happy with Nagas seeking their “political rights,” claiming Naga villages in Manipur were never part of Meitei kingdom.

“Solution to the Naga issue will not infringe on Meiteis or any other community. Why Manipur government is not happy with the ongoing peace talk between the Centre and NSCN (IM) while the whole world welcomes negotiated settlement to conflicts,” Zeliang asked while addressing the first conference of Naga village authorities at Yaikongpao (Tagaramphung) village in Senapati district today.

Zeliang was the chief guest at the programme. He came along with his education minister and Nagaland’s Rajya Sabha MP. Representatives of Naga Hoho, Naga political leaders, representatives of Naga citizen organisations attended the conference. Chiefs, headmen, chairman etc. of more than 750 Naga villages spread across the state took part in the conference.

Stating that Naga villages were never parts of Meitei kingdom the chief minister said a “historical accident” which was a fall out of arrival of the British divided the Nagas. Terming today’s event as a “historic one” Zeliang appealed to the Nagas in Manipur to stand united so as to bring a final solution to the ongoing peace talks and also to defend their land. “We cannot allow the Naga problem to drag on. We cannot leave the problem behind. It is the opportune time to bring a solution. Let’s be positive and have faith in the leadership,” he appealed to the Naga village leaders.

He reiterated that Naga villages in Manipur were village republics and independent since time immemorial. On the NSCN (IM) talk with the Centre Zeliang expressed the hope that a final solution based on the Framework Agreement signed on August 3 last year would come soon. He appealed to the Nagas in Manipur to have faith in the leadership of (NSCN-IM) and support the peace process. He appealed to the NSCN (K) to come back to the cease-fire and hold talks with the Centre so as to bring a final solution to the Naga issue.

He offered to make a request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to talk to his Myanmar counterpart for working out a cease-fire between the NSCN (K) and the Myanmar government. He termed the three bills – Protection of Manipur People Bill, Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Bill (Seventh Amendment) Bill and Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, which were passed by Manipur Assembly as “anti-tribal.”

Zeliang also appealed to Nagas in Manipur to support the Naga Peoples Front candidates in the ensuing Manipur Assembly election. UNC president Gaidon Kamei, Naga Hoho vice-president Zhimomi, All Naga Students Association president Seth Shatsang, Naga Women Union president L M Tabitha, among others, who addressed the gathering called for unity among the Nagas.

The village authority conference had a five point declaration. In the declaration the village authorities took the pledge to defend and safeguard their rights over ancestral land at all cost, urged the Centre and NSCN (IM) to bring a final solution to the talk, appealed to all Naga political groups to support the peace process for a common goal and resolved to form a common platform for the village authorities.

The declaration also reaffirmed the decision taken by the United Naga Council on January 2, 2012 to support the Naga Peoples Front.

BJP demands speedy work on Wangoo-Moirang road

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 19

BJP Manipur Pradesh will extend moral support to the people’s movement demanding repair of Moirang to Wangoo road.

According to a release, during the last 15 years of Congress ruling in Manipur, the Moirang to Wangoo road via Kumbi has been kept neglected for many years. The condition of road has become danger thereby causing lots of inconveniences to the people, it said. The release added the state government has been deaf to the repeated demands of the people to repair the road. Thus people have resorted to blocking of roads.

Till now the government has not given any positive response to the agitating people, it said adding that the government should repair the road at the soonest before the agitation escalates.

BJP internal feud will be self-defeating factor: O Lukhoi

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 19

Internal conflict between ticket aspirants in BJP will be self-defeating factor for the party in the coming assembly elections. This was stated by MLA O Lukhoi of Wangoi constituency at his reception function organised by Wangoi block Congress committee.

Wangoi Congress itself is at present embroiled in internal feud after the entry of O Lukhoi. He said, Wangoi constituency has been lagging behind in terms of development because he was with a political party which is not in power. So, he decided to join a ruling party to bring development. Taking a dig on the mushrooming up of ‘social workers’ overnight, he said they are alien to the proceedings of the House and therefore cannot serve the people properly.

Clarifying about his disqualification case, he said members of Trinamool Congress decided to abolish the state unit of the party. MLA Y Surchandra, who also spoke at the reception function, said that BJP after forming government at the center has done nothing for the State. He said, BJP leader Th Chaoba was involved in corruption cases during his tenure as the deputy Chief Minister of the State and a person like him should not shout anti-corruption slogans.

Surchandra clarified that Kabow Valley was not gifted away by the Congress to the Burmese, but it was the ‘Treaty of Yandabo 1866’ which lead to the transfer of the valley into the hands of the Burmese. He also pointed out that there is a hidden agenda behind the ‘Framework Agreement’ signed between the BJP led NDA government at the Center and the NSCN-IM. He said the incident of June 18 incident in 2001 which lead to the killing of 18 persons is still fresh in the minds of Manipuri people. “It was during the NDA government which created havoc in the State”, he said.

In the entire Thoubal district there are 10 Assembly seats and BJP will not get a single seat in the Assembly election, he said.

BJP vows to safeguard integrity
Former ministers N Biren and Francis Ngajokpa given warm reception at BJP office

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 17

Former Congress ministers Nongthombam Biren and Francis Ngajokpa today formally joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and were given a warm reception at the party head office at Nityaipat Chuthek, Imphal. The reception was attended by National general secretary Ram Madhav and Northeast Democratic Allaince (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sharma. Manipur election in-charge Prakash Javadekar was conspicuously absent.

Welcoming the duo Ram Madhav said, Manipur needs a government which is friendly with the Centre for its overall development and protection of its territorial integrity. He said, BJP will ensure that the integrity of Manipur will remain intact and equal attention in development and progress would be given to both the hills and the valley. Any person who wants to protect and save Manipur will leave Congress because BJP is the future of Manipur, he added.

Dismissing allegations of BJP being a threat to the territorial integrity of Manipur by state Congress leaders Ram Madhav said, no one can change or redraw the boundaries of a state without the consent of the people of that state let alone BJP. He said, Congress is a sinking ship and it has no other option but to fire away wild allegations to BJP. “We want development and improvement of highways of the state,” he said.

Ram Madhav assured to permanently end the problem of bandhs and blockades if BJP comes to power in the state. He said that the national highways of the state will be completed before the fist term of Modi government ends. He further lambasted the 15 years of misrule by Okram Ibobi led Congress government. NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma claimed that BJP will be able to win 50 seats out of 60 in the coming assembly elections.

He said, our target is not only to dislodge Okram Ibobi but also to uproot Congress from both Manipur and India as well. He also promised a college for every constituency in the state if BJP comes to power. Speaking at the reception former Congress leader Francis Ngajokpa said, the future of Manipur lies with BJP and that is why he has joined the party. N Biren of Heingang said that he resigned from Congress and the dictator regime of Okram Ibobi because he wants a change in Manipur.

He said, BJP central leaders have committed to his eight conditions for joining the party. Among the conditions, the two main points were equal development of the hills and the valley and protection of land in the valley like the hills. State BJP President K Bhabananda, BJP legislature leader Kh Joykisan, MLA Th Bishwajit, former president and chief of party election management Th Chaoba, organizing secretary NE in-charge Ajay Jahwan, and newly appointed additional general secretary (Organisation) of Manipur Phunindranath Sharma and other leaders of state BJP were also present.

BJYM storms MPSC complex

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | October 17

The Bharatiya Janata Youth Morcha, Manipur Pradesh supporting the Group of Manipur Public Service Aspirants, stormed into the MPSC office complex where the interview for the Manipur Civil Services Combined Competitive Examination commenced today. The Group of Manipur Public Service Aspirants was formed by candidates of the ongoing recruitment process alleging discrepancies in the evaluation of answer sheets of the mains examination.

The candidates supported by the BJYM are demanding a fresh recruitment process by cancelling the ongoing examination and warned to launch a series of agitations if the demand is not met. They have also demanded the concerned authorities to clarify on the controversy surrounding the evaluation of mains answer scripts, at the earliest. A tussle broke out between the BJYM volunteers and the security personnel guarding the main gate of the complex.

The BJYM volunteers managed to overcome the security personnel and damaged the commission chairman’s vehicle, windows of the office among other things. However, additional police force came in soon and controlled the BJYM volunteers and arrested three volunteers in connection with the vandalism. The three are president P Somojit, general secretary Ningthoujam Nongpoknganba, vice president Manoharmayum Barash Sharma.

The volunteers also tried to meet the MPSC chairman and enquire about the examination, but were denied the meeting. They shouted slogans alleging the government of playing foul play and encouraging unfair means in selection of candidates. Speaking to media persons before his arrest, president of BJYM, P Somojit said the MCSCCE examination, 2016 was re-scheduled three times.

He said the exam should be cancelled and fresh examination should be conducted as there are several discrepancies in the examination process. Elaborating further he said the results of the mains examination was declared too soon, it would be impossible to evaluate all the answer scripts within such a short period of 10 days. He said there are eight papers with each having a total mark of 300. Altogether 1130 students appeared in the mains but the examination result was declared within 10 days, which is next to impossible, he lamented.

He further demanded the government to declare the number of evaluators who checked so many answer scripts in such a short period of time. Meanwhile, later in the day, the Group of Manipur Service Aspirants called a press conference at the Manipur Press Club and extended appreciation to the BJYM for their support. Speaking to the media, convenor of the group Robertson Sorokhaibam said they lament the state government for neglecting the appeal of the group to look into the matter seriously.

Robertson said we have submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister already to look into the matter seriously; however, the efforts have remained useless.

CPI seeks central intervention in MU

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 17

The Communist Party of India has demanded that the central government should immediately conduct an inquiry into the Manipur University impasse which has adversely affected the academic atmosphere of the university since long and urged to help restore normalcy in the university at the earliest.

Stating this in a press conference held at their head office, national executive member Moirangthem Nara Singh said, the deteriorating academic atmosphere in Manipur University was seriously discussed during the CPI National Executive Committee, NEC meeting held at Ajoy Bhawan, New Delhi on October 15 and 16. He said during the meeting, the committee took the view that the ‘chaos and anarchy’ prevailing in Manipur University leading to deterioration of academic atmosphere in the campus is due to the absence of a regular vice chancellor and a regular registrar.
As such it seems there is no proper administration to handle the situation and control any issue related to the students, teachers or non-teaching staff, he added. Reiterating that lots of violence had taken place in the MU campus besides burning down of the university recreation hall to ashes and keeping most of the departments under lock and key since the last two weeks, he claimed neither the centre nor the state government have taken any appropriate action so far. This has caused a big loss to the academic environment of the university to a great extent and both the student and teacher communities have been demoralised, he maintained.

Stating the CPI NEC meeting also discussed in depth the never ending construction of the NH-37 connecting Imphal and Jiribam, he said repeated promises made by the different union ministers including the Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself have become a farce as the highway continues to be in deplorable condition. It is highly deplorable that the central government is ignoring such a situation of chaos on the highway, which is one of the two lifelines of the state connecting it with the rest of India, he added.

Panchayat bodies needs to be strengthened: T Meinya

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 17

Grass roots democracy plays an important role in the development of the country. Therefore the government of India has been giving focus on the Panchayati Raj System for the uplift of the rural population. This was stated by Member of Parliament, T Meinya speaking as chief guest at the inaugural function of Sagoltongba Mayai Leikai community hall held at Sagoltongba in a simple function today.

He said developmental works needs a continuing process, and the change of MLA should not affect development works. He also maintained that the government giving due recognition of the importance of grass roots democracy has provided Panchayat Ghar to hold regular meetings by Pradhan and members for the development of the village.

He urged the locals to attend every Gram Sabha meeting each year. He also appealed that women should take active participation in politics as 33 percent reservation has already been reserved in electoral politics. T Meinya also highlighted on the new schemes of skill development initiated by the government of India. He said these schemes would help in tapping the talents of the people particularly in rural areas, adding that it will also help in income generation towards self-sustenance. 

Sharmila to take on chief minister, Bijoy
New party Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance launched

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 18

With a party of her own in place, rights crusader Irom Chanu Sharmila is ready to take on “mighty” Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in his own home turf of Thoubal constituency and also sitting Congress MLA Dr Ng Bijoy Singh in Khurai seat, also her own home constituency.

The launch of Sharmila’s new party named Peoples Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) was announced at a press conference at Manipur Press Club, here, by convener of the party Erendro Leichombam. The new party began with three candidates for the electoral battle. They are convener Erendro Leichombam (against BJP MLA Kh. Joykishan Singh in Thangmeiband constituency) and co-convener Phundreimayum Najima, a rights activist (against Fajlur Rahman a Congress MLA in Wabagai constituency in Thoubal district).

Najima will be the first Muslim woman to contest in the Assembly election. “We are planning to field at least 20 candidates and we are hoping to win the seats we contest,” Sharmila said.

The new party is yet to be registered with the Election Commission of India and the executive committee is yet to be constituted. The party now has one convener and three co-conveners. Mayengbam James, co-convener said the party was founded on four principles as pillars. They are understanding, justice, peace and love. The new party chose today’s historic day to make announcement of formation of the party.

On October 18 in 1948 the first session of the democratically elected assembly was held today. In the morning, Sharmila visited Johnstone School and Kangla fort to pay homage to erstwhile leaders and also to seek their blessings. Before the media, Sharmila’s team took the pledge to adhere to the four principles, use non-violence, to work for repealing AFSPA and against all forms of violence, to work for gender justice and economic resilience and self-reliance for the people.

Sharmila said “Our party will fight for justice. We will fight against muscle and money power. Ours is a fight for system change. There are youths with me. Please support us.”

She formed the party after visiting various districts of Manipur and Delhi to consult on her “changed strategy” with youths and students. She had also consulted intellectuals in the state on her political move. She visited Ukhrul, Senapati, Thoubal, Bishnupur and Delhi to meet people. The team also discussed with state intellectuals on the formation of the party and fighting election. Erendro said his party will have a clean campaign and make it a model political party not only in Manipur but also in India. He said the party would not host feasts nor distribute money.

“Instead we will collect Rs. 10 from those who is willing to support us and the money will be used in serving tea to supporters coming to the candidates,” co-convener James Mayengbam said. Sharmila said herbal medicine industry would be developed in Manipur to generate employment. She also promised to root out corruption, continue her fight against armed forces act and ensure social and political justice.

The convener said the party will not have any alliance with the Congress or BJP. He, however, added that if there is any party that believes in the four principles of the PRJA then if can be an alliance.

Erendro said the team would conduct a survey to identify the most important issues of the people and accordingly the election campaign would be shaped.

 Who reacts on Sharmila party and how

MPCC chief TN Haokip

“The move is too late. Irom Chanu Sharmila should have launched her political party a little earlier to be more effective. It is practically not an easy task to sustain a fresh movement yet not entirely impossible too, given the fact that people are always craving for something new. Judging by the four foundations on the basis which the PRJA was built the party is unlike a political party but more of a movement. The Congress and PRJA are not so different when it comes to the issue of AFSPA. The Congress has already done their part with regard to the issues. We removed AFSPA from 7 assembly segments within Imphal Municipal area. Whether it is a new party or old, Congress will always keep our doors open because we believe in people’s participation.”

BJP chief spokesperson S Tikendra Singh

“We are in a parliamentary democracy. We have a multi-party system. We are given the right to have an ideology and principle to seek our vision. BJP has nothing to say on the formation of a new party by Irom Chanu Sharmila. There are more than 4000 registered political parties in India. However, many parties stopped functioning after registration and only a few are still active. There is a polarisation in India’s political scenario. On one hand there is BJP led NDA and on the other there is Congress led UPA. This is a natural process and political circumstances have brought this. So I don’t have any comment. We heard Sharmila said that she does not want to ally with BJP. The four pillars of her foundation – understanding, justice, peace and love are all in BJP’s philosophy. Ours is a universal one. She does not understand our party. She is a new entrant. The BJP also is not thinking of having alliance with anyone.”

CPI state secretary M Nara Singh

“We welcome Irom Sharmila’s democratic movement. We salute her courage and struggle. It is too early to make any comment on her new party. Let us wish her party a success and becomes a well functioning democratic institution. Let us wish her success in her future endeavour.”


Who are in team Sharmila

Convener: Erendro Leichombam (33) of Thangmeiband Hijam Dewan Leikai  is an educationist and entrepreneur. An MA in Economic Policy from Harvard University, USA Erendro has been a World Bank Fellow (2010–2013), a consultant with UNDP (Dhaka, Bangladesh) and is associate professor and co-founder of Pragati School of Management in Guwahati.

Co-convener: Najma Phundreimayum (43 yrs) of Santhel Mamang Leikai (Mayang Imphal) is a rights activist who has worked at the grass roots level since 2001 in areas of livelihood, women’s rights, violence and conflict resolution.

She has been associated with various rights initiatives and has been a member of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights and Sustainable Livelihood Forum. She was general secretary of United Manipur Muslim Women Development Organization (UMMWDO).

She has been actively associated with the Women in Governance (WING) initiative that focuses on more political engagement and involvement of women in governance. She is the first Manipuri Muslim to contest for the Assembly elections.

Co-convener: James Mayengbam (35 yrs)  of Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai is an entrepreneur who is passionate about the involvement of youths in the process for change. He was general secretary of Manipur Cycle Club that aimed to mitigate climate change and raising awareness about environmental protection and climate change while reviving the Manipur culture of commuting by cycle. He started WOL media, a multi media solution system that uses various media and communication modes to market, brand and advertise products, franchisees and business firms.

Co-convener: Irom Sharmila Chanu (44 yrs) of Khurai Kongkham Leikai has been a peace activist who has campaigned for the repeal of AFSPA by undertaking a nearly 16 year long fast. Sharmila has been associated with various youth initiatives working for the cause of peace, social justice and equality.

BJP will highlight 15 years misrule of Congress

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 18

The BJP Manipur Pradesh will take out rallies against the indecision of the Speaker regarding disqualification cases of party hopping MLAs and will highlight 15 years of Congress misrule in the state, said Kh Joykisan. Speaking at the sidelines of Mayang Imphal Mandal rally he said that the congress government and speaker have not clarified till today on the allegations made by BJP. He further said that BJP will not criticize on the Speaker’s verdict on the disqualification cases. It will take expert opinion before taking a final decision.

CIRCA commemorates Manipur’s first Assembly session

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | October 18

Coalition for Indigene’s Rights Campaign (CIRCA), Manipur observed the ‘Manipur National Day - 2016’ today commemorating the first Assembly sitting of independent Manipur after the exit of British, at Sana Konung Palace Compound. Manipur titular king Leisemba Sanajaoba said it is really commendable that family members of those who were there at the first assembly sitting of independent Manipur in 1948 are attending the commemoration todaWy.

The most crucial aspect of observing the day is to educate the younger generation on the importance of the day, he told the gathering. Leisemba Sanajaoba, heir of Maharaja Bodhachandra who signed the merger agreement said the kings of Manipur used to have ‘Angamba’ - advisors who guide the king on issues confronting the land throughout the land’s more than 2000 years of remarkable existence.

Stating that the state is today being guided by incompetent leaders who are confusing the people, he said we need intellectuals who can guide the people towards a better future.

Leishemba also said the frequency of functions and seminars on nation building organised in the state have gone down considerably in the state. Expressing his apprehension that Manipur could be fragmented into smaller pieces in another decade or so, he appealed to the intellectuals in the state to come forward and lead the state and its people to a brighter future.

Manipur AIDS Control Society retd director Dr Khomdon Lisam said Manipur is one place where disunity among different communities as well as within a single community is witnessed. He said that he has visited different parts of the world and almost all parts of India and found that Manipur is the state which has the least unity among the people. Elaborating further, he said here we seen division among people who are working on the same issue.

On the Inner Line Permit System issue, he said the general strikes and other destructive forms of agitations or even the sit in protests will not bring any positive result. In order to gain positive response, the leaders of the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System should be strong enough to meet the President of India and table their demand before him, he added.

Manipur University retd deputy registrar Oinam Kullabidhu said the first Chief Minister of Manipur Maharaj Kumar Priyobarta was nominated as the CM by his elder brother the then king Maharaja Bodhachandra under Article X clause I of the Manipur Constituency Act 1947. He said that altogether 53 elected members from different constituencies of Manipur formed the government and held its first assembly sitting on October 18, 1948. He mentioned that during the period of 1948, the state had a population of about 5,14,000. The CPI Manipur also commemorated the day at their office building.

CCSK celebrates 1948 birth of democracy in Manipur
Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | October 18

The Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak, CCSK Manipur today observed the “Manipurgee Puwarida Meeyamgee Leingak Leiba Numit” commemorating October 18, 1948 the first Manipur State Assembly sitting which marked the beginning of democracy in Manipur. The observance function was held at Imperial Hall of Classic Grande, Chingmeirong chaired by CCSK president Arjun Tenheiba and associate professor of department of political science, Modern College Haobam Indrakumar, professor (retd) of MU N Joykumar, post doctorate fellow MU K Muktasana and senior journalist K Madhumangol as resource persons.

Delivering the keynote address, CCSK general secretary Jitendra Ningomba said since the time of Nongda Lairen Pakhangba in 33 AD, the successive kings of Manipur had broadened the boundary of the nation state in different stages of the history thereby forming a united common identity through the unification of various ethnic communities which were earlier divided. The kings introduced various political, socio-cultural and economic policies towards the formation of a powerful nation state, he said, and added however, despite all the historical glory of Manipur as a sovereign nation state, the defeat in the Anglo-Manipur war in 1891 brought it under the British rule for the next 56 years.

Manipur achieved independence only on August 14, 1947 ushering in a beginning of democracy replacing monarchy, he said.

Today the time has come for all of us to realise the importance and significance of knowing and remembering the history of Manipur and work together for the common cause of the motherland ending mistrust and enmity amongst the groups, he added. He further said the observance will mark the acknowldgement of the legacy of the forefathers who in their times dreamt of Manipur as a democratic republic. The observation of the day will remind today’s generation of the forefathers sacrificial spirit and national pride which in turn will act as a guide in the reconstruction of the deteriorating spirit of a nation state, he said.

Speaking at the function Indrakumar said in the history of Manipur October 18, 1948 is a red-letter day because on this day the first Manipur State Assembly sitting was convened following democratic elections in the then independent nation state. Irrespective of whether Manipur remains merged in India or become independent, we should exercise our civil liberty as a legacy from this day in every field including work, culture and communal harmony, he added.

In his lecture Joykumar also said during that time the king was just a nominal head in a constitutional monarchy like political set up while the entire administration was through the representatives of the people. In his presidential address, Arjun said the then Indian leaders gave the nomenclature ‘state assembly’ instead of ‘parliament’ but people of Manipur were unaware of the differences between these new political terms introduced then and they were hoodwinked into merging with the Indian union even after getting independence from the British.

As such the controversy over the then naming of the people’s council as ‘state assembly’ instead of ‘parliament’ of a sovereign nation state will remain forever, despite the fact that Maharaja Budhachandra proclaimed Manipur as a republic after it emerged from the British yoke, he added.

BJP Wangoi candidates pledge for collective fight

Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL | October 18

The Wangoi constituency BJP aspirant candidates have pledged to fight the upcoming Manipur Legislative Assembly election 2017 against congress party with collective effort and responsibility among themselves. In this regard the BJP Wangoi Mandal has taken statements from each of the four aspirant candidates in a one day political conference of BJP, held at Irom Meijrao Mamang Leikai today. The four aspirant candidates of Wangoi Mandal are Y Nillamani, Salam Joy, Kh Loken and M Thoiba.

M Thoiba expressed that he will work for strengthening the party so as to bring good governance in the state when it comes to power. He alleged the present Congress led government of taking undue advantage through job recruitments to woe the voters.  Khuraijam Loken, state executive member of BJP said that Congress party’s foundation has become shaky and it will crumble soon. Perhaps only the Chief Minister and his deputy might be the last persons to hold its citadel, he said.

He assured to people of Wangoi as an aspirant candidate of BJP that in the 2017 election he will work whole-heartedly for the welfare of the party as well as the constituency. Salam Joy, former MLA expressed confidence that BJP will surely bag the Wangoi seat as the four BJP aspirant candidates have decided to work together in the coming election. All the 39 polling stations of Wangoi will unite to defeat the sitting MLA O Lukhoi, he said.

Kh Joykisan MLA Thangmeiband who was the guest of honor said that people should not distinguish BJP candidates as different entities. The collective effort of the BJP workers along with the people will make the party invincible, he added.

First session of elected Govt commemorated

 The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 18 2016: The first session of the first democratically elected Government of Manipur was commemorated today at Classic Grande Hotel here. The commemorative function organised by Committee of Civil Societies Kangleipak (CCSK) was presided by its president Arjun Telheiba.

Modern College Associate Professor Haobijam Indrakumar, MU Prof (retd) N Joykumar, MU Post Doctoral Fellow Dr K Muktasana and senior journalist K Modhumangol spoke at the commemorative function as resource persons. After the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, Manipur came under British occupation for 56 years until British colonial rulers restored independence of Manipur on August 14, 1947.

A democratically elected Government was set up after independence with 53 MLAs and the State Assembly held its first session on October 18, 1948. Freed from the exploitative monarchy and feudalism and liberated from the British colonial yoke, people of Manipur were euphoric as their pride as a Nation was restored, Arjun Telheiba said.

As such, October 18 is a landmark date in the history of Manipur. Commemoration of October 18 would go a long way in teaching the history of Manipur to the younger generations and instilling a sense of duty to the Nation, he continued. H Indrakumar said that India is a republic, not a kingdom. But Manipur was once a kingdom. Nonetheless, people of Manipur always wanted to live as free people. He went on to question why the Manipur State Assembly was called so rather than calling it Manipur Parliament.

Manipur was a Nation. Whereas contemporary MLAs take oath on assuming office to maintain secrecy of the Government, the 53 MLAs of 1948 pledged to work for the truth, Indrakumar remarked. Even though many people gave credit to British colonial rulers for modernisation of Manipur, Manipur would have been much more developed if it remained an independent country. During the time of Maharaj Churachand and Irabot, a section of people wanted to merge Manipur with Burma while another section was conspiring to merge Manipur into the Indian Union.

There was no line of division between the hills and the valley. It was the British colonial rulers who divided the people of Manipur into hill people and plain people. Since the controversial merger with the Indian Union, people of Manipur have been suffering from all kinds of repressive measures. If Manipur remained separate, it would have been a developed country by now, he claimed. H Indrakumar then called upon the gathering to focus their attention on freedom and be progressive.

Prof N Joykumar remarked that most of the historical events commemorated in Manipur are either about defeat or death but the event commemorated today was about celebration. It is a commendable step for collective discussion on the emergence of democracy and democratic process in Manipur. Manipur adopted its present name in the 17th century during the reign of Maharaj Garibniwaj. There was no doubt Manipur existed as a Nation.

The Manipuri Nation was formed after unification of the seven clans which existed as independent Nations before the unification, Prof Joykumar asserted. The Coalition of Indigene’s Rights Campaign (CIRCA) too commemorated the same historic session at the royal palace as Manipur National Day 2016.

Titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba, MU College Development Council Director Thounaojam Ratankumar, MU former Deputy Registrar Oinam Kullabidhu, MU research associate Kangujam Sanatomba, cultural activist Ningthouja Lancha and family members of the MLAs who held their first session in 1948 attended the function.

Speaking at the gathering, Leishemba Sanajaoba said that people of Manipur were living together in harmony under monarchy. Taking serious note of the restive situation prevailing in Manipur, the titular king appealed to all the scholars and intellectuals to pool in their resources and guide Manipur on to a progressive track. Ningthouja Lancha said that there was no inter-community distrust or animosity when Manipur was not merged into the Indian Union. The demand to restore Manipur’s pre-merger status is justified and it does not mean separation from India, he asserted.

Resurgent Manipur observes 5th anniversary

 The Sangai Express

New Delhi, October 18 2016: Different chapters of the People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur marked its 5th anniversary today in different cities including Delhi and Hyderabad. The occasion at Delhi was marked with a seminar on “Re-envisioning Politics: Interrogating the Idea of Manipur” at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Dr Jangkhomang Guite, Assistant Professor, Centre for Historical Studies, JNU and Bidhan S Laishram, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Zakir Husain Delhi College, Delhi University delivered lectures at JNU.

The function was attended by students and professionals working in Delhi from Manipur and elsewhere. Dr A Bimol Akoijam, Centre for the Study of Social Systems, JNU chaired the session. Dr Guite began by recalling the way in which history has always been used and appropriated to justify any present situation. Talking about existing problems in Manipur as taking on the form of ‘madness’, he called for a need to introspect and find faults ‘within ourselves first before blaming others’ .

Laishram began by recalling his personal memories which pointed at an organic relationship which had always existed between what is misleadingly termed as the ‘hill’ and ‘valley’ today. These two terms have gone beyond just being geographical divisions but evolved into being markers of identities, he said.

He also maintained that these terms have become hegemonic in the sense of being identified with one particular community, which is not the case. These become easy categories which are utilized for narrow political gains. He called for a need to position the idea of ‘justice’ as the sovereign and work towards fulfilling the idea of “We” as a collective subject working for the common good.

Earlier, Babina Chabungbam welcoming the delegates gave a brief introduction to the Campaign, which started in 2011 as the ‘People’s Campaign for Assembly Election’ and renamed as ‘People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur’ in its first anniversary (2011).The Campaign was started, she said, to bring about a change in the political culture and ethos in Manipur, particularly emphasizing the need for issue based elections.

She noted that the Campaign was committed to bring about informed discourses on issues of public importance and to make public institutions and offices transparent and accountable, including the electoral processes. Dr Akoijam shared the action plans of the Campaign in the days to come, including setting up chapters of the Campaign amongst alumni of various educational institutions and localities.

He also said that the Campaign has been seeking to involve people, particularly younger generation those who are between 18-35 years, in the Campaign and also to make people who are outside Manipur to have the facility of postal voting during election.

Anti-AFSPA crusader floats new pol party PRJA

The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 18 2016: Anti-AFSPA crusader Irom Sharmila who broke her epoch-making fast against the draconian law recently has announced that she would contest the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election both in Thoubal AC and Khurai AC. At a function held today at Manipur Press Club which was jam-packed with media persons including a number of journalists working for TV channels based outside the State, Sharmila formally announced establishment of a new political party christened People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA).

Whereas Thoubal AC is the home constituency of Chief Minister O Ibobi, Sharmila belongs to Khurai AC.

“I fasted for almost 16 years against AFSPA but the Government did not pay any heed.

During that time, I could not connect with the masses properly. Subsequently, I decided to break my fast and join electoral politics to resolve the issue of AFSPA from a political platform”, Sharmila stated. PRJA has been formally set up today (October 18) to coincide with the anniversary of the first session of the first democratically elected Government of Manipur which was held on October 18, 1948, she said. She said that she and her party colleagues offered prayer inside Johnstone Higher Secondary School campus today where a hall once stood inside in which the first session of the first democratically elected Government was held.

Saying that they prayed to the almighty inside the sacred Kangla, Sharmila exuded confidence that she and her party would emerge victorious. She said that she set up the political party with a conviction to bring a revolutionary change in Manipur through non-violent means after uniting youths who have chosen different paths. If the existing system should be overhauled and the people’s political, economic and cultural rights are to be protected, people need to trust and support PRJA, asserted Sharmila who is also a co-convenor of the new political party.

She also expressed displeasure over the voices of disapproval and objections raised by some quarters when she announced the decision to break her fast against AFSPA. She also made it clear that no one should make undue interference in her personal life. To a query, Sharmila said that PRJA would field at least 20 candidates in the forthcoming Manipur Legislative election. Sharmila announced that she (Thoubal AC and Khurai AC), Erendro Leichonbam (Thangmeiband AC) and Phundreimayum Nazima (Wabagai AC) have confirmed their candidature so far.

PRJA convenor Erendro Leichonbam said that their party would forge alliance with like minded regional or local parties but the party would not go together with Congress or BJP. The convenor and three co-convenors of PRJA took oath during the press meet by holding the party’s constitution.

Framework Agreement at final stage, says Rajnath but spells out no details

The Sangai Express

Chandigarh, October 18 2016: Addressing the two days Regional Editors’ Conference at Hotel Mount View in Chandigarh, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that the porous border areas in the North East were used for smuggling drugs and narcotic substances and added that the Government of India is considering to wipe out unlawful activities along the border by holding diplomatic talk with Myanmar Government.

The two days conference began on October 17 and concluded today. The Union Home Minister said that the North Eastern region is by and large peaceful though insurgency has plagued the region since India became a free country. The ‘Framework Agreement’ signed between the Government of India and the NSCN-IM on August 3 last year has reached the final stage, he said adding he won’t disclose anything more than that.

Since BJP came to power at the Centre, the region has seen dramatic reduction in insurgency related activities, he said and added that the violent activities carried out by insurgents have been reduced to the lowest level. He said the Indian military carried out surgical strikes at the border areas of Myanmar in reply to the killing of 16 Indian soldiers by nscn-k in Manipur last year. Replying to a specific question about the involvement of hill based UG organisations in the conduct of Assembly and Parliamentary election, Rajnath said he had noted the matter.

The Union Home Minister was told that the ug organisations could use anything under its disposal to ensure victory of the candidates of their choice and in reply he said that the Government of India would look into it. Governor of Haryana and Union Territory of Chandi-garh VP Singh Badnore inaugurated the two days conference by lighting the candle. Union MoS for DONER Dr Jitendra, who also addressed the gathering said that major issues facing NE region particularly Manipur is connectivity.

The Government has plans to take up road construction in Manipur and other States jointly with NEC and DONER. He said preparation of DPR has been simplified to speed up clearance of the construction programme. On the construction of sports university in Manipur he said the controversy that engulfed land allocation had delayed setting up the sports university. The Minister was reminded that the land was available and Manipur Chief Minister had said the land was made available more than the actual requirement. But he insisted there was a controversy.

He was also told of the need for providing financial assistance to the unemployed youth as the number of unemployed youth in Manipur had reached five lakhs.

Mirabai pooh poohs poll prediction

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | October 16

Congress leader and Social Welfare Minister Ak Mirabai today dismissed the prediction of a BJP victory in the coming state elections on the basis of India Today-Axis opinion poll. The minister said, the results of the opinion poll will never come true and people should not believe in such predictions. While speaking at the inaugural function of Multi-Purpose community Hall at Kwakeithel Mayaikoibi, Social welfare Minister AK Mirabai said BJP will not be able to gain power in the coming general elections.

Aside from a few leaders who have left the party to join BJP, the foundation of Congress party is still intact and it would be too much for BJP to expect absolute majority in the state, she said. The people of Manipur have still not forgotten the June 18 incident in which 18 people lost their lives for the integrity of the state and BJP was responsible for the incident, she added. She further said, the strength of the BJP in the state will come to nothing once the tickets are announced.

She exuded confidence that the party will once again win absolute majority in the coming elections. Congress government under the leadership of O Ibobi has taken up many development works in the state like construction of Ima Keithel, Manipur University of Culture, Manipur Institute of Technology, conversion of Imphal Municipal Council into Corporation and many others, she said.

MPCC General Secretary and Sagolband Constituency MLA RK Imo Singh questioned the veracity of the India Today-Axis poll. He said, the opinion poll did not mention the sample size and timing of their opinion collection. The sample size of the opinion poll conducted after the surgical strikes of Indian army was very clearly mentioned but it was not mentioned at all with regard to the recent Manipur opinion poll, he added. He said there is no doubt that Congress will win the coming general elections.

It may be mentioned here that RK Imo’s father-in-law and Heingang MLA N Biren had recently left the Congress party and resigned from the Assembly. The inaugural function was organised by Sagolband Constituency Progressive Committee and Mayaikoibi Mamang Leikai Development Association, Manipur. MLA RK Imo Singh presided over the function while councilors of Ward No 7 RK Jiten Singh, Ward No 8 Pukhrambam Debala and former Chairperson IMC Moirangjao Kabui attended as guest of honours. MLA RK Imo Singh said the multi-purpose community hall is built with an amount of 60 lakhs.

Meanwhile, Congress MLA RK Anand rubbished the India Today-Axis opinion poll saying that it was a political conspiracy with a hidden agenda to prevent Congress from retaining power again in Manipur. The exit poll had predicted BJP unseating the ruling Congress by winning 31-35 and Congress party winning not more than 19-24 seats. It was mentioned in the Phura Makhong community hall inauguration function under Naoriya Pakhanglakpa constituency today.

While talking to the media MLA Anand responding to a quarry from media regarding the opinion poll said that “It is a conspiracy theory. Great conspirators are there at the Centre (BJP led NDA government)”. Coming down heavily BJP and its allies, Anand alleged that the exit poll was a part of their “propaganda warfare”.

“I am very confident that Congress candidates will win the elections with a huge margin from their respective rivals,” he said. He alleged BJP led NDA government trying to take credit of the work that were performed by the Congress led NDA government. “When the actual work was done by the Congress, BJP was trying to get the credit,” he said.

BJP will materialise IT opinion poll: Joykishan

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | October 16

 The state BJP leader, MLA Kh Joykishan has exuded confidence that the opinion poll conducted by India Today magazine will be materialised in the upcoming Assembly election slated to be held early next year.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the BJP Lilong Mandal mass rally against the Speaker’s indecision on disqualification cases under the 10th Schedule of tribunal court of the Assembly, he said that Axis opinion poll is just an independent survey report initiated by the India Today media house based on the ground reality of Punjab, UP, Goa and Manipur. He said the Congress has no other options but to accept defeat in the upcoming election. “They may fervently try to save their face by terming the opinion poll as a conspiracy of the BJP led government at the Center, but the defeat they had faced in the recent by-election of Thongju and Thangmeiband constituency is a curtain raiser to their defeat”, he said.

He continued that the state BJP will further their agitation against the indecision of disqualification cases of the 10th schedule of tribunal court of Assembly, which was kicked off from October 6. He said, “We will welcome any verdict of the Speaker on the case. There are many analyst and experts who will give their opinion on the matter. But what we are demanding is that the Speaker should not keep the verdict pending”.

On the future course of action, he said, “BJP will continue to agitate against the Speaker with another rally on October 18 at Mayang Imphal, to be followed by another one on October 20 at Andro”.

In today’s public rally BJP supporters staged protest-walk along the national highway 102. As a result of the rally there was huge traffic jam in Lilong areas. Candidate aspirant of the party Antas Khan, state executive member Anwar Hussein among others also took part in the rally.

MPCC should clarify on conspiracy over Wangoi block congress committee

Imphal Free Press
IMPHAL | October 16

The Wangoi Block Congress Committee has given an ultimatum to the MPCC to clarify over the controversy generated by appointment of an expelled member K Robindro as secretary of Wangoi block congress committee.

At a press conference held at the office of the Wangoi block congress committee, Wangoi Bazar, Secretary in charge of the block committee W Jitendra said that on October 15 a notification was received by all the workers and office bearers of Wangoi Block Congress Committee for attending an emergency meeting to be held today regarding reception of sitting MLA O Lukhoi of Wangoi.

The notification was signed by Robindro who was earlier expelled from the Congress and had contested the last Wangoi municipal elections as an Independent candidate, he said. He further said that K Robindro had also in a earlier instance resigned from party on August 16, 2013 in connection with police cases. While alleging that the notification was issued with the tacit approval of the MPCC President but without consulting the block President W Jitendra sought clarification from MPCC by October 15. Yet, there was no clarification which enraged many Congress workers and they even refused to recognize O Lukhoi as a Congress MLA.

He further said that Wangoi Blocak Congress committee didn’t know who is O Lukhoi though MLA of Wangoi. Till today WBCC has not received a request from MLA O Lukhoi a room in the block congress committee office. The press meet was attended by President of Wangoi block congress committee and other office bearers.

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