“At present, there is no trust and confidence in the government and administration. Public have lost complete faith in the present state government. Some special measures for proper administration and function of the government by following Rule of Law may kindly be resorted to so that the trust and confidence of the general public is restored,” read a memorandum submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 19, a day before the prime minister flew to the US for a much-anticipated visit.
Ironically, this memorandum did not come from some Opposition leaders. It was written by nine colleagues of Modi’s own party BJP. The nine signatories, who claimed that Chief Minister N. Biren Singh-led state government had lost public support, were all BJP MLAs from Manipur—Karam Shyam Singh, Th. Radheshyam Singh, Nishikant Sing Sapam, Kh. Raghumani Singh, S. Brojen Singh, T Robindro Singh, S Rajen Singh, S Kebi Devi, and Dr. Y. Radheshyam. They all belong to the Meitei community. In the ongoing ethnic clash between Meitei and Kuki in the state, the chief minister has often been accused of backing his own community Meitei.
While this memorandum, labelling Biren Singh-government as a failure, is being seen as another episode of dissidence within Manipur BJP, a twist in the tale followed soon. On May 20, eight of the nine signatories joined a group of 30 BJP MLAs, staunch supporters of the chief minister, including his son-in-law Rajkumar Imo Singh, in Delhi and posed in front of media persons, showcasing unity. One of them, Karam Shyam Singh, even made a statement saying that people were trying to divide the party and everyone was united in their efforts to solve the issues of Manipur. In April, Karam Shyam had resigned from the post of the chairman of the Tourism Corporation of Manipur alleging that he had not been assigned any responsibility in his job. Not just Karam Shyam, three other signatories of the memorandum—Th Radheshyam Singh, S Brojen Singh and Kh Raghumani Singh–had resigned from various administrative and advisory positions in the government, indirectly expressing dissidence against Biren Singh.
The memorandum was submitted to the prime minister on the same day when the Meitei MLAs, loyalists of Biren Singh, met Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Delhi. They had demanded strict action against Kuki militant groups under Suspension of Operation (SoO). Most Meitei groups claim that Kuki SoO militants are behind the current violence against Meiteis. The next day, on June 20, eight of signatories joined the other delegation and met BL Santhosh, party’s national general secretary. “They were misled. We all agreed that we can leave politics behind and should work for bringing peace back to the state,” Imo Singh told India Today NE.
However, one of the nine signatories, Th. Radheshyam Singh, was not part of the delegation that met Santosh. In April Radheshyam Singh had resigned as the advisor to Chief Minister Biren Singh.
While speaking to India Today NE, Radheshyam Singh, said that the two warring communities should be contacted by a third party and the MLAs from both communities should come forward for dialogues to find a solution and peace in the state. “There are two Kuki ministers who have not visited Imphal since violence broke out. If they can’t visit Imphal, the operation of the government will be paralysed. Can we have peace and solution without involving the Kukis?” he said.
In the five-point memorandum, the MLAs have requested for a meeting to be arranged between Kuki MLAs and Meitei MLAs. They also demanded heavier and uniform deployment of Central forces across all parts of Manipur. The memorandum also stressed that the integrity of the state not be compromised and that the request for a separate administration by any community not be taken into consideration at any cost.
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