With minimum presence in the North-east, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party is leaving no stone unturned to capitilise on Narendra Modi's growing popularity in Manipur

The Manipur unit of the BJP has been trying to win the hearts of the people of the State by pledging to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 if it comes to power.

The State unit president Chaoba Thounaojam has been making the announcement.

But people are taking it with a pinch of salt since the party had done nothing about it in the past. On the other hand, Deputy Chief Minister and PCC president Gaikhangam Gangmei recently said Manipur burned during the regime of the BJP led union government.

It had extended the ceasefire with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) on June 14, 2001 “without territorial limits.”

On June 18, 2001 people from all walks of life had come out on the streets and torched offices of political parties, manhandled many elected representatives and torched the Assembly secretariat and offices of the Chief Minister and other Ministers and MLAs. 18 persons were killed in the police retaliation.

Earlier Thounaojam launched a broadside against Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh contending that he had given his approval to the construction of the border fence deep inside Manipur.

However the Chief Minister brushed it aside as misleading and not factual. Now the people’s agitation has fizzled out since the construction work has been suspended.

The BJP has also been harping on the alleged corruption of the Loktak Development Authority which is chaired by the Chief Minister. However, in the absence of support from other political parties, nothing came out of the demand made on the basis of the expose by a news magazine.

Thounaojam says there is corruption everywhere and that if the BJP comes to power some politicians in Manipur will be incarcerated.

However sources in the ruling Congress brush aside these strident charges saying the state unit of the BJP is on a fishing expedition.

They said that it has been failing to secure a single seat in the 60 member Manipur Assembly for the last two terms. They said that a “party hopper like Thounaojam” cannot befool the people.

Meanwhile the BJP has fielded a former academic, R.K. Ranjan, in the general Lok Sabha seat. Another former academic and minister has also been fielded in the reserved seat.

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