Manipur CM designate N Biren Singh promises to get blockade lifted

by Staff Reporter | Tuesday, Sep 11, 2018 | 819 views

The United Naga Council (UNC) has been continuing its indefinite blockade of the Imphal valley in protest against the previous Congress government’s decision to carve out seven new districts from tribal-dominated hill areas in the north-eastern state.

 

On the eve of his swearing-in as the new Manipur Chief Minister, BJP leader N Biren Singh has told India Today that he will fulfil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise to lift the ongoing economic blockade in the state imposed by the United Naga Council.

During an election rally in Imphal last December Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that if a BJP government was formed in the state the new administration will lift the blockade immediately.

The new Manipur CM-in-waiting on Wednesday said, “Let the protest be finished, we will do as per the promise of the prime minister”.

This comes in the backdrop of the Naga People’s Front announcing their support for the BJP-led coalition to form government in the state. The support of the Nagaland-based party was crucial for BJP to ultimately get the magic number.

BLOCKADE ON FOR FOUR MONTHS

The United Naga Council (UNC) has been continuing its indefinite blockade of the Imphal valley in protest against the previous Congress government’s decision to carve out seven new districts from tribal-dominated hill areas in the north-eastern state.

The UNC has been vehement in its protest against the Manipur state administration and has even sought complete separation from the state, a demand which is also backed by the NPF.

Thus the BJP’s tie-up with the NPF remains a weak straw in the coalition as the majority Meitei community in the valley remains apprehensive about a possible Naga domination over the state government. However, the new Chief Minister in-waiting has allayed all such fears by stating that the NPF support was “unconditional”.

In the run up to these elections there was a constant tug-of-war between the previous Congress-run state government and the BJP ruled Centre over the blockade.

While the BJP blamed the Ibobi Singh administration for failing to lift the blockade, the Congress has put the onus on the BJP stating that the Centre was holding Naga peace talks with the NSCN (IM) and therefore could pressurise the UNC to quit its protest.

Thus speaking on the issue, Biren Singh expressed confidence that the Centre will provide full support to normalise the situation in Manipur.

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