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PM Modi worried about Israel, not Manipur, Rahul Gandhi slams BJP, MNF in poll-bound Mizoram

Guwahati: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is worried about Israel but not about Manipur, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday alleged in poll-bound Mizoram, where all parties are trying to reap political benefits of the conflicts in the neighbouring state.

“I went to Manipur and couldn’t believe what I saw there, they have destroyed the idea of Manipur, it has become two states. People have died, and women have been killed. PM is worried about Israel, but he is not worried about Manipur. I fail to understand Why PM didn’t visit Manipur,” Gandhi said while addressing a crowd during a road show in Mizoram capital Aizawl.

Gandhi said that national media is more worried about the Middle East and are not concerned about what is happening in Manipur.

The Congress leader is on a two-day visit to Mizoram, where elections to the 40-member Assembly is scheduled on November 7. The ruling MNF is confident of retaining power for the second straight term and is confident of a “comfortable” win against the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM), a relatively new regional party, which it considers its main rival.

Congress, which was unseated by the MNF in the 2018 elections, however, claim that they are still going strong in the race for power. Congress, which was in power for 10 years (2008-2018), was relegated to third position with just five MLAs.

Zo Unification

Mizoram CM and MNF President Zoramthanga has been been trying to exploit the sentiments of the Mizos over the attacks on Kuki-Zo communities in Manipur. The MNF government has provided shelters to over 12,000 Kuki-Zomi people from Manipur, who were displaced due to the clashes with the Meiteis since May. He also put his weight behind the demand for a “separate administration” for the Kuki-Zomi people, who share ethnic ties with the Mizos.

The long issue about “unification” of the Zo communities (living in Manipur, Mizoram, Myanmar and Bangladesh) is going to be the biggest issue in the Assembly elections in Mizoram this time. Rahul’s attack on the PM, according to political observers, is an attempt to counter the attempt by MNF to reap the political benefits out of the Manipur conflict.

“Manipur is just a symptom of problems, you can see the same symptoms all across India. People in the minority are feeling uncomfortable, tribals and dalits are uncomfortable. I view it as an attack on the idea of Manipur, it is also an attack on the idea of India in Manipur,” Gandhi further said.

Rahul also alleged that MNF failed in the development front.

“Drug problems have affected so many lives. 250 young lives have been extinguished due to drugs whereas MNF supports the BJP in Delhi. The young people don’t have jobs, they don’t see any future, so they are taking up drugs. MNF has created only 2,000 jobs in the last five years. Roads and infrastructure are in shambles,” the Congress MP further said.

Karnataka, Chattisgarh governance

Claiming that Congress has a good record of running governments, Gandhi flagged the schemes being implemented by Congress-led governments in Karnataka, Chattisgarh and Rajasthan.

“Karnataka has developed a social security system which is one of the best in the world. Direct transfer of money, free travel for women, Rs 1500 for women, financial support for farmers. In BJP run states, gas cylinders are priced at Rs. 1,000, we give it for Rs 500. In Chhatisgarh, the farmers get the highest remuneration for rice in the country. This money has transformed the economy of Chhattisgarh. People have health insurance cover of Rs. 25 lakhs, free medical treatment for critical illness. The governments in these states have identified local products and supports small businesses so that they succeed. We have opened 377 English schools which provide education to poor children”, he said.

MNF-BJP ties

Rahul said it is a shame that MNF is “hand-in-hand” with BJP. “We will defend your culture, your traditions and your language. Its the most important thing for us, your language, culture and traditions are attacked, it’s an attack on India.” Gandhi further said.

Congress on Monday released the names of 39 out of 40 candidates to contest the Assembly elections.

(Published 16 October 2023, 09:23 IST)

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