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26 Feb 2017

PM vows to protect Manipur

Manipur BJP leaders present a painting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos
Khelen Thokchom, TT, Imphal, Feb. 25: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today assured Manipur residents that the state's territorial integrity would be safeguarded. He also launched a scathing attack on the Okram Ibobi Singh-led Congress government here.
With polls just a week away, Modi addressed more than 50,000 people at Langjing Achouba ground in Imphal West on a day CorCom, a militant conglomerate, called a complete shutdown of Manipur to boycott his daylong visit.
Despite the rebel shutdown call, people came from far-flung places to attend the rally hours ahead of Modi's arrival. They came in buses and other modes of transport, in defiance of the militant diktat.
The state will go to the polls on March 4 and 8.
"There is not a single word in the framework agreement, signed with the NSCN (I-M), that would compromise the territory of Manipur. The Congress government here has been sleeping since 2015. Now, it is raking up the issue to win votes. Ibobi Singh and others have been spreading lies to the people on the issue," Modi said during his 55-minute speech.
He also slammed the state government for failing to lift the nearly four-month blockade imposed by the United Naga Council to protest creation of new districts.
Modi said Ibobi Singh instigated the blockade to gain political mileage by dividing the communities. He said a BJP government would take charge by Holi and the blockade issue immediately resolved.
"The Congress government wants to reap benefits by pitting one community against another for the sake of the chair. Ibobi makes brothers fight against each other," Modi said.
He went on to charge that Ibobi Singh is known throughout the country as "10 per cent CM", for taking 10 per cent cut of every work executed.
"Manipur needs a zero per cent CM. You gave the Congress 15 years. Give us five years and we will do in 15 months what the Congress couldn't in 15 years," Modi said.
The Prime Minister urged the people to choose between "Congress's 10 per cent government and BJP's 100 per cent development".
He said the Congress government had destroyed Manipur, called the Switzerland of the East, through misgovernance. He said the Ibobi Singh government fixed rates of government jobs, adding that it had no moral right to continue.
Modi promised to make the Northeast a tourism hub.
Reacting immediately after the rally, Ibobi Singh dared the Prime Minister to prove the charges of corruption.
"The Centre has investigating agencies. Let them probe the charges of corruption and then book anyone found guilty. He can't prove it and is making baseless allegations," Ibobi Singh told reporters.
On the framework agreement, Ibobi Singh countered that if there was nothing in it then why is the Prime Minister shying away from disclosing the details.
Union home minister Kiren Rijiju, DoNER minister Jitendra Singh and Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also addressed the rally.
There were no reports of any trouble during Modi's stay in Manipur. Tight security measures were taken around the rally venue.

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