PM Modi did not speak a word on Manipur, deliberately 'turning back' on state: Cong

In his nearly 135-minute speech replying to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in the Lower House, Modi was faced with continuous slogan-shouting on the Manipur issue by opposition members.
PM Narendra Modi
PM Narendra Modi

New Delhi | The Congress on Wednesday hit out at the government over its second MP from Manipur not having been allowed to speak before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address in Lok Sabha, saying the PM repeated his old allegations, cracked jokes and took jibes but did not have the patience to listen to the voice of the legislator from the violence-hit state.

The Opposition party also alleged that it seems the prime minister is deliberately "turning his back" to the plight of Manipur.

In his nearly 135-minute speech replying to the discussion on the Motion of Thanks on the President's Address in the Lower House, Modi was faced with continuous slogan-shouting on the Manipur issue by opposition members.

Just ahead of the PM's address, Leader of Opposition Rahul Gandhi and the Congress had demanded that its MP from outer Manipur, Alfred Arthur, be allowed to speak.

Addressing the media, Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi said, "We saw very sad scenes in the Lok Sabha. The Congress and Rahul Gandhi wanted both the MPs from Manipur to speak during the debate on the Motion of thanks to the President's address. The demand was made by Gandhi repeatedly." Gandhi had gone to Manipur and saw the division in society that there is a civil war-like environment prevailing there. Gogol said.

Gandhi knew that if we allow one side to air its views and not the other it would send out a wrong message from Parliament to the people of Manipur, he said.

"That is why our first MP who comes from Imphal and Inner Manipur spoke on Monday and yesterday we wanted that the other MP who comes from the hills, Alfred, be given a chance to speak. But unfortunately while we have our sympathies with Manipur, the prime minister does not want to hear about the plight of Manipur," Gogoi said.

"Our demand was specific - we knew the prime minister had to speak at 4 PM and we wanted our Manipur MP to be given two minutes to express his views. But we did not get two minutes and had to hear the PM for two hours during which he repeated his old allegations, cracked jokes and took jibes but did not have the patience to listen to the voice of the MP from Manipur," the Congress leader said.

All our northeast MPs came to the well of the House to demand justice, he said.

"All our INDIA bloc MPs stood in support with us and we raised the slogan of justice for Manipur," Gogoi said.

Prime Minister Modi did not speak a word on Manipur, he said.

"The PM said if you did not get time you should ask your party. Why should we ask the party, wouldn't it have been a good gesture that he would have allowed an opposition MP to speak. If he can offer water to an Opposition MP, then why doesn't he have the patience to hear out an Opposition MP from Manipur to speak for 2 minutes," Gogoi said.

"I think the prime minister is deliberately turning his back on Manipur. (RSS chief) Mohan Bhagwat has also talked about Manipur but the PM did not even listen to him. He did not want an MP from Manipur to speak in his presence," he alleged.

The Manipur MP kept shouting for two hours but the prime minister kept on hurling allegations in his speech, Gogoi said.

Congress leader Praniti Shinde said what was seen in Parliament on Tuesday was a "gross show of PM's insensitivity and lack of empathy" towards the burning issue of Manipur.

On Monday, Congress' Inner Manipur Lok Sabha member A Bimol Akoijam had expressed his anguish over the absence of any reference to ethnic violence-hit Manipur in President Droupadi Murmu's address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.

In a fiery speech late Monday night, the first-time Congress member from Inner Manipur drew attention to the 60,000 people living in deplorable conditions in relief camps in the northeastern state for the past year.

Lok Sabha passed a resolution on Tuesday condemning Opposition's disruptions during Prime Minister Modi's address, with Union minister Rajnath Singh saying these actions "shredded" parliamentary norms.

Manipur plunged into violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities in May last year. Since then some 200 people have been killed, while thousands have been displaced following large scale arson that has gutted homes and government buildings.

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