Manipur imbroglio: Dissident Manipur Cong MLAs meet Sonia

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) Dissident Manipur Congress MLAs, seeking a leadership change in the state, met Congress President Sonia Gandhi here last evening.

During an hour-long meeting, the MLAs charged state Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh with ''turning the state into a killing field''. They alleged that the law and order situation in the state had deteriorated ''uncontrollably'' and demanded the ouster of the Chief Minister.

They said life of the people in Manipur was no longer secure and normal social activities were badly affected.

''Kidnapping, killings, extortions, bomb blasts, threats and intimidations have become daily feature in Manipur. Bombs have been hurled regularly even in the well-guarded official quarters of ministers, MLAs and officers. No officer dealing with funds and projects can properly sit in their offices or even stay in their houses,'' the spokesman of the dissident Congress group Y Surchandra Singh said.

He alleged that though the population of Manipur was less than 1/10th of that of the North East, about 45 per cent of the killings took place in the state.

The spokesman said the Ibobi Singh Government had never made a serious effort to initiate talks with the insurgents, adding the UPA government also had not announced any proper and adequate rehabilitation package for the surrendered insurgents in Manipur as was done in Assam.

Accusing the Chief Minister of having alleged links with insurgent outfits, Mr Singh said, ''The recent combing operation conducted selectively in the official quarters of some MLAs was an attempt to cover up his nexus with underground outfits.'' The Congress MLAs have been camping in Delhi for sometime to carry out the campaign for Mr Ibobi Singh's ouster.

The disidents had launched a scathing attack on the Chief Minister for encouraging outsiders to acquire properties at the cost of the locals. The MLAs accused Mr Ibobi Singh of encouraging corruption in the state as a result of which even the Centrally-sponsored projects were either not implemented or delayed endlessly.

At the meeting, all the 14 MLAs, including the Manipur State Congress president, were present.

Initially, the group had proposed two names of State Congress President Gaikhangam and Devendra Singh, the senior most party MLA in the assembly, for the post of Chief Ministership.

However, the dissident leaders changed their stand and later left the issue of selection of Chief Ministerial candidate to the party high command.

The meeting was also attended by Mr Ahmed Patel, political advisor to the Congress President.

The dissidents had earlier threatened to launch an agitation for the ouster of the Chief Minister if their demands were not met by November 15.

UNI

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