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Congress Demands Immediate Replacement Of Manipur CM For Ensuring Peace In The State

Former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh presented a set of demands at an all-party meeting, emphasizing the need for immediate replacement of the CM and disarming of rebel groups in the state.

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Manipur CM N Biren Singh. (File photo)
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The Congress on Saturday said peace in violence-hit Manipur is not possible under Chief Minister N Biren Singh and demanded that the prime minister replaces him immediately. Presenting an eight-point charter of demands on behalf of the Congress at an all-party meeting convened by Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament building, former chief minister of Manipur Okram Ibobi Singh said it was unfortunate that he was not allowed more time to put across his views towards the end of the meeting.

Singh, who represented the Congress, said the meeting should have been chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi "who has not said a single word on Manipur in the past 50 days". "This all-party meeting would have been better had it been chaired by the prime minister and held in Imphal. This would have sent a clear message to the people of Manipur that their pain and distress are also a matter of national anguish," he said, while demanding that all rebel groups must be disarmed immediately without any compromise.

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"The state government has failed miserably in providing effective governance when it is needed most. The chief minister himself has admitted publicly twice his failure to handle the situation and deal with the crisis. He has also asked for forgiveness of the people. The chief minister should be replaced immediately," Singh said. On whether the home minister presented a roadmap for peace in Manipur, he replied in the negative. "The Congress and some other parties also demanded that an all-party delegation be sent to Manipur and we hope that the prime minister will hold a similar meeting after his return from abroad," he said.

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The request for a visit by an all-party delegation to Manipur was raised by most of the parties but the government remained non-committal, sources said. Later, addressing a press conference, Singh along with Jairam Ramesh said the unity and territorial integrity of Manipur should not be compromised at any cost. Grievances of each and every community must be heard and addressed sensitively, Ramesh said, adding that steps should be taken by the Centre to ensure availability of essential commodities by keeping the two national highways open and secure at all times 24 hours a day.

"A package of relief, rehabilitation, resettlement, and livelihood for the affected people must be prepared without delay. The relief package announced is grossly inadequate," he told reporters. Ramesh later tweeted, "The all-party meeting organised by the Home Minister today was just an eye-wash and a formality."  "As the principal Opposition party, our representative the senior most leader from Manipur, 3-time elected CM Okram Ibobi Singh, was not allowed to present his points representing the pain and anguish of the people of Manipur," he said. 

Singh was the only leader from Manipur in the all-party meeting today, Ramesh said, adding that "it is an insult not only to the former CM and the Congress party, but the people of Manipur, that their representative was not allowed to fully put forth his point of view."  Sharing the eight points presented at the meeting by Singh, he said, "Our demand is the immediate removal of the CM of Manipur, without which no progress can made towards peace and normalcy in Manipur."

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