Taking on the Congress government in Manipur, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday sought one chance for his party’s “politics of development” versus the “sweeping corruption” unraveled by the Congress.
Modi was addressing an election rally in the state’s capital Imphal under the shadows of guns, in the wake of security threats issued by several insurgent groups. The Coordinating Committee (Corcom) that constitutes of six insurgent groups called for a shutdown in the state till Modi were to remain in the capital, even as bombs were recovered at multiple places in and around the rally’s venue.
However, the prime minister appeared quite unfazed and took on the ruling dispensation with quips and banter in his signature style. Hitting out at Congress over the alleged cases of corruption, Modi said that Manipur was probably the only state in India to have a “10 percent chief minister.”
File image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. AFPPrime Minister Narendra Modi. AFP
According to Modi, word on the street was that the government officials and ministers charge 10 percent commission to get any work done, which he was capitalising in the election rally.
Seeking “one chance to serve Manipur,” Modi said that on the one side were the “10 percent commission people” against the “100 percent development people,” adding that the electorate should stay mindful of the choice it makes this election.
The prime minister, by and large, unlike his Uttar Pradesh rallies which often veer into controversies, stuck to the development plank and highlighted the basic infrastructural problems faced by the state. Corruption, the economic blockade under which the state has been reeling since December, and infrastructural development figured primarily in his speech.
Reiterating the importance of a developed and stable Manipur, Modi said that he realizes the importance of developing the state as a peaceful and prosperous North East is essential for a united India.
He also claimed that the BJP will do the work in 15 months that was not done in past 15 years.
“Wherever Congress is in power there is no development, there is only corruption… Sikkim is such a small state but it’s developing at a great speed,” Modi said.
Invoking Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s model of ‘good governance,’ he said that the former prime minister had made specific policies for the development of North East, but the subsequent governments didn’t continue the good work due to lack of political will.
Modi also touched upon the neglect, often New Delhi is accused of showing towards the North East India. “Before our government, rarely would a Union minister visit a North Eastern state, but our ministers, you would have seen, have constantly been here reviewing the progress of the Centre’s scheme,” Modi said.
“After Morarji Desai, not one prime minister came to attend the NEC meeting in the North East. I was the first prime minister in 40 years after him to do so,” he added.
On Congress’ allegation over the Naga peace accord, which it said compromised the rights of Manipuris, Modi said, “I promise you that nothing in the Naga accord has anything that is detrimental to the people of Manipur. The Opposition is lying when it tells you otherwise.”
On the issue of the economic blockade, Modi said that the Centre was ready to provide whatever help they needed. He wondered whether the Congress was hand in glove with the people involved in the blockade. “Look at the game that Congress is playing, on one hand they are instigating the people and on the other hand they are financing those who are imposing the blockade,” Modi said.
“And all this, only to win election? Such a heartless government has no right to stay in Manipur. And this election is a chance for you to teach them a lesson,” he added.