Realising that violence cannot solve any problem, the people of Manipur have given the Congress an unprecedented mandate to rule the State for the third time, ignoring the bloody campaign launched by extremists against the party candidates, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said on Wednesday.
Mr. Singh was speaking at a function got up to felicitate the 42 newly elected Congress legislators at the party office here. All-India Congress Committee observers L. Felario and Hemanta Biswas Sarma, who are camping here to help elect a new leader of the Legislature Party, were present.
Mr. Singh said the party candidates could not address even street-corner meetings because of violence in both the hills and the valley. But the outcome — the Congress beat its rivals hollow, winning 42 of the 60 seats in the polls held on January 28 — had shown that none could drive a wedge between the people of the two regions. He made it clear that his government was leaving the door open for talks with misguided youths who had taken up arms. Most of them had realised that violence could not bring about any lasting solution; and many had signed ceasefire agreements and were engaged in peace talks with the government.
He said the Congress could repay the people for their trust in the party only with development projects.
D.D. Korungthang, elected from Tengnoupal, said the people's opinion could not be swayed by the diktats of some persons.
Lok Sabha member Thangso Baite said some national and local parties could not win even a single seat because the people knew that only the Congress could deliver the goods.
Meanwhile, reports say a tug-of-war is going on in the party for leadership. The main contenders are Mr. Singh and Commerce and Industries Minister Yumkham Erabot. Furthermore, several Congress MLAs are demanding berths in the Cabinet, most of them having missed the bus in the past 10 years the party has been in power.