IMPHAL: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday pledged to establish peace in Manipur by initiating talks with all underground groups operating in the state. He also asserted that all smuggling activities will come to an end in Manipur, which will be “drug-free” within the next five years.
Addressing a poll rally at Heirok in Thoubal district, Shah said “we have shown in Assam and Tripura… where 9,500 youths laid down their weapons and joined the mainstream”.
“No youth will go to jail, none will have weapons in their hands, but will join the mainstream and work for national development,” the senior BJP leader said.
Last week, opposition Congress had complained to the Election Commission about a purported statement of support by a militant group, the Kuki National Organisation, in favour of the ruling BJP.
The statement of support claimed that as the Union home minister and the BJP leadership have promised “swift settlement of Kuki aspirations”, the outfit will support all BJP candidates for the upcoming assembly polls, and warned that acting against its appeal would be seen as “acting against Kuki interests.”
Hitting out at the Congress, Shah said the grand old party had failed to provide basic amenities when it was in power in Manipur, where electricity was earlier available “for just five to six hours a day”.
After the BJP came to the northeastern state, the home minister said, all villages have been electrified and power is available round the clock. He also said just 5 per cent of houses had access to potable water during the Congress regime, which increased to 57 per cent under the saffron party rule.
Congress had divided the state by “creating tension within different communities”, while the BJP has deep respect for the state’s culture and identity, Shah said.
He also promised to make Manipur a sports hub, with the 325-acre National Sports University becoming functional in a few years.
The second phase of assembly elections in Manipur for 22 seats will be held on March 5.