Ahead of polls, Manipur BJP releases manifesto; does not mention AFSPA - Hindustan Times
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Ahead of polls, Manipur BJP releases manifesto; does not mention AFSPA

BySobhapati Samom
Feb 17, 2022 10:46 PM IST

There has been a demand in Manipur for over two decades seeking repeal of the Act, which gives powers to search, arrest without warrant and also shoot to kill in some situations in ‘disturbed areas’. Activist Irom Sharmila had staged a fast for 16 years seeking its withdrawal.

IMPHAL: With just 11 days to go for the Manipur assembly elections, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its manifesto on Thursday. Manipur will go to polls on February 28 and March 8 to elect 60 legislators.

BJP chief JP Nadda, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, state unit president A Sharda Devi and others releasing the election manifesto in Imphal on Thursday. (HT PHOTO.)
BJP chief JP Nadda, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, state unit president A Sharda Devi and others releasing the election manifesto in Imphal on Thursday. (HT PHOTO.)

BJP national president JP Nadda accompanied by chief minister N Biren Singh and BJP Manipur chief A Sharda Devi jointly released the manifesto.

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Called ‘Manipur Manifesto 2022’, the 30-page manifesto has 20 promises the party made to voters ahead of polls, but it has remained silent on the question of repealing the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

There has been a demand in Manipur for over two decades seeking repeal of the Act, which gives powers to search, arrest without warrant and also shoot to kill in some situations in ‘disturbed areas’. Activist Irom Sharmila had staged a fast for 16 years seeking its withdrawal.

Following the killing of 16 civilians in Nagaland in December last year by security forces, the demand for the repeal of AFSPA has gained momentum in the state. The Centre too had set up a panel to look into the withdrawal of the legislation from that state.

Several of BJP’s ruling partners in the northeast, National Peoples’ Party, Naga Peoples’ Front, Nationalist Democratic Political Party have demanded its repeal and are also raising it in the Manipur polls. Manipur CM N. Biren Singh has also said the Act needs to be repealed, but his party remained silent on it in its poll manifesto.

“Insurgency and AFSPA had always been important issues. However, in recent times we had been able to bring insurgency to a bare minimum which ushered in a state of peace and normalcy in the state. People are beginning to feel the change and we are happy that we have been able to achieve this in such a short time,” Singh had told HT in an interview last month.

Speaking at the manifesto release, BJP chief JP Nadda said, “This manifesto is not a piece of paper. This manifesto means the commitment of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the next 5 years in Manipur.”

“It (manifesto) has been done after due consultation and due interaction with all the 60 constituencies (in the state) and 1.2 lakh aspirations were collected. The discussion took place with all communities and all the sections of society and then we drafted this manifesto,” he said.

In his speech, N Biren Singh said, “I can proudly say, this manifesto is the first of its kind in the state considering its process (of making it).” Thanking the national party leaders for making it happen, he said, and added, “We’re focussing on peace and development.”

The ‘Manipur Manifesto 2022’ has 20 main highlights and it promises to protect territorial integrity and preservation of rights of the indigenous people of Manipur and its rich cultural heritage.

The manifesto promises 2 free LPG cylinders to all the PM Ujjwala beneficiaries annually, free scooty to all meritorious college going girls, an incentive of 25,000 for girls from economically weaker and backward sections, free laptops to all meritorious students passing class 12, to increase monthly pension for senior citizens from 200 to 1000, to increase financial assistance for all farmers from 6000 to 8000, free of cost accidental insurance cover of upto 5 lakhs for fishermen, scholarship for children of small, marginal and landless farmers.

(With inputs from Utpal Parashar in Guwahati)

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