No one in Manipur blames Prime Minister Narendra Modi, or Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the ethnic violence that has been on for three months. The assertion came from Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma during an exclusive interview with NDTV.
Speaking to NDTV’s Editor-in-Chief Sanjay Pugalia as part of a special series to mark the 76th Independence Day, Mr Sarma said while there is disturbance in Manipur, “nobody is criticising the Prime Minister or the Home Minister”.
“Nobody is saying this is happening because of the Central government. Earlier, no matter what happened, the blame would have come to Delhi. Now, people know this is our conflict, nothing to do with Delhi,” he said.
Then in a dig at the Opposition, which had moved a No-Confidence Motion in parliament against the Narendra Modi government, he added, “This conflict is on since May and you will see that politicians from the mainland are criticising Modi, but nobody from Manipur is blaming Narendra Modi”.
The Opposition motion got defeated on the floor of parliament today by a comfortable margin. Their strategy to pin down the government and compel the Prime Minister to speak on Manipur also crashed, with PM Modi launching on a two-hour-plus speech that ripped through the Opposition and blamed the Congress for the situation in Manipur and the rest of the northeast.
Mr Sarma, who joined the BJP in 2015 after decades in the Congress, said the situation in the northeast has changed considerably since the Narendra Modi government came to power.
Much of it, he said, has been brought about by better connectivity.
“There has been a perceptional change in the northeast since 2014. Development was at a very slow pace and suddenly there was a great change in terms of connectivity,” he said.
As examples he cited the road to China border, the rail track conversion from metre gauge to broad gauge, new highways and internet connectivity.
“There is a perception that someone cares for the region. You do not have to go all the way to Delhi to get your work done,” he added.