Gaikhangam calls BJP anti-poor, anti-minorities party
IMPHAL, 10th Nov: Regardless of the tall promises being given to the masses under its catchy slogans, BJP is a political organisation that has no sympathy for the underprivileged sections of the society as it views the poor people as unproductive, alleged Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Gaikhangam. Addressing a gathering of party’s schedule tribe leaders and workers at a one-day political conference organised by Adivasi Department of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) at Congress Bhawan here on Saturday, former deputy chief minister Gaikhangam contended that BJP leaders despise poor people and minority communities as the saffron party’s principle is based on making the wealthy richer and the poor poorer. Describing as regrettable that such anti-poor and anti-minority party is in power both at the centre and in the state, he maintained that BJP is good at giving only lip service and false promises to the masses. Contrary to the BJP’s discriminatory politics, the Congress party upholds interest of the poor and marginalised sections of the society regardless of their numerical inferiority or strength, Gaikhangam said, while adding that the Congress has been and will continue to respect religious rights and practices of all the communities. He also contended that BJP leaders assuring to bring political, economic and social transformation in the country is merely intended to take the masses for a ride as the party’s real agenda is to side-line the minority communities and trample upon the rights of the poor. Further stating that the masses cannot be always fooled with false promises, Gaikhangam expressed confidence that the discriminatory politics and policies of BJP will be exposed sooner than later. Dismissing the ‘Go to Hills’ initiative of the BJP-led government in the state as a misnomer and mockery of sentiment of the schedule tribe community, he said that many colleges in the hills continue to be left out of the periodical purview for upgrade to fullfledged government institutions in-spite of meeting the criteria and ST officers eligible for promotion to chief secretary or other higher posts are being denied service elevation due to the present government’s discriminatory policy.
While ‘Go to Hills’ is intended to mislead the innocent citizens in the hills, the same government’s ‘Go to Village’ programme is schemed at denying administrative power to the pradhan, gram panchayats and elected members of local bodies in the valley, he continued.
Further stating that Manipur’s egalitarian structure which was existent since time immemorial has been diluted on account of categorising the people on the basis of their residency and religious belief, Gaikhangam lamented that such classification is the root cause for the strain in relationship amongst the indigenous communities.
After India attained freedom, House Committee of the parliament asked public leaders of Manipur to state their stand on socio-religious status that eventually led to categorisation of Hindu believers as general while Sekmai, Phayeng and some other villagers in the valley preferred Schedule Caste and those settling in the hills opted to remain as Schedule Tribe expecting that such status would improve their socio-economic condition, Gaikhangam said.
Noting that it would be improbable to ask the already categorised communities to give up their respective status as it would mean curtailment of certain benefits, he stressed that even if reversal from such classifications based on socio-economic perspectives would be difficult the constitutional differentiation cannot be a reason for dilution of the century-old fraternal bond of the people.
While observing that certain organisations demanding conversion of general category community into STs might be due to the aspiration for a level playing field, he mooted that the demand cannot be simply brushed aside but merits compassionate consideration.
In his address, MPCC president TN Haokip predicted that the Congress party will retain both Lok Sabha seats of Manipur in the 2019 parliamentary elections.
He also claimed that the Congress will emerge triumphant in three out of the five states where elections would be conducted in the next few days.
The conference was also attended by MP Thangso Baite, MLA RK Imo, former MLAs Victor Keishing and Preshow Shimray and party workers.