BJP saved Manipur for future generations, does not support separatism: Lok Sabha candidate Basanta Singh

Singh said that Congress is nowhere in the picture in the state and BJP will win 'hands down'
Last Updated : 10 April 2024, 08:33 IST

Follow Us :


Imphal: The BJP stands for a united Manipur and there can be no separate administration in the state for any particular community, said Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh, the law minister of the strife-torn state and the saffron party's candidate from Inner Manipur in the Lok Sabha polls.

Stating that the Congress is nowhere in the picture in the state, Singh said the BJP will win "hands down" in Manipur and asserted that the public knows his party is the only pathway towards peace.

He also asserted that the BJP has saved Manipur for future generations.

"We as a party and government stand for a united Manipur … there should be no separatism of any kind, we have been like this for centuries and will remain like this. During the Second World War, France and Germany went to war and today they are the best of allies and neighbours," Singh told PTI, responding to a question about the demands of the Kuki-zo community for a separate administration.

"We should give hope to the people and talk about the unity of the state. Now is not the time to be divisive, now is the time to be united," he added.

The hill state has witnessed sporadic, sometimes intense, ethnic clashes since May 3 between the majority Meitei community and the Kukis, resulting in the loss of more than 200 lives. While the Meiteis have concentrated in Imphal city, the Kukis have shifted to the hills.

Polling for the two Lok Sabha seats in Manipur will be held in two phases on April 19 and 26. While Inner Manipur and some segments of Outer Manipur will vote in the first phase on April 19, the remaining segments of Outer Manipur will vote on April 26.

"People are convinced that if Manipur is going to be on the path of peace, the BJP is the only pathway that can provide that. The Congress has failed miserably. When they governed Manipur for over 15 years, there were many deaths that were unnatural, more than 1,800 of which are being inquired into right now," Singh, a former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, told PTI in an interview.

Asked if the conflict that has been going on for more than 11 months will have any impact on the party's performance in the Lok Sabha elections, Singh said, "The Congress is not in the picture, it's the BJP which will win hands down in Manipur and contribute towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi being sworn in for the third time."

"Yes, people are concerned that the conflict has been going on for a long time. We have made people understand why the conflict has been going on … we have also gone to the people and shown them … we have explained what we have contributed towards keeping Manipur one, united. At the same time, to save the indigenous people of Manipur, the central and the state governments have contributed to the agenda …," he said.

Singh, who belongs to the Meiti community, is the son of Thounaojam Chaoba Singh, who served as the Union Minister of State for sports, youth affairs, culture and food processing in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee.

The 59-year-old Singh is the MLA from the Nambol constituency in Bishnupur district. He is pitted against Jawaharlal Nehru University professor Angomcha Bimol Akoijam of the Congress from the Inner Manipur seat, which encompasses the valley districts.

The BJP has decided not to contest from the state's other constituency, Outer Manipur, where it has extended its support to NDA ally the Naga People's Front candidate Kachui Timothy Zimik, a retired Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer.

Among the party's achievements in the state listed by Singh during his campaign are fencing on the Indo-Myanmar border, implementation of the Inner-Line Permit (ILP), scrapping of the Free Movement Regime (FMR) that allowed people to move freely between India and Myanmar, deployment of a new border guarding force, steps towards implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Manipur, and identification and deportation of illegal immigrants.

"To save Manipur, these steps have been taken and people are aware that to save Manipur these steps are needed, which previous governments didn't take … we have saved Manipur for future generations," he said.

Posters of political parties, mega rallies and visible movement of leaders—the traditional elements of campaigning—are conspicuously missing in violence-hit Manipur.

The only visible hint of the impending election is the hoardings put up by local election authorities, urging citizens to exercise their franchise.

Amid the muted election fervour, major party figures have refrained from visiting the conflict-ridden state to canvass for votes or make electoral pledges.

While the BJP has enlisted prominent figures such as Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah as star campaigners, the Congress lineup includes Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and other key leaders.

However, none of them have made an appearance in Manipur yet.

Singh also conducts public meetings at the party office or his residence ahead of the polls.

Published 10 April 2024, 08:33 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us