IMPHAL, March 16 - A day after the swearing in, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led Manipur Government has appealed the United Naga Council (UNC) to immediately lift the indefinite economic blockade.
Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren Singh convened a special meeting on Thursday with all Cabinet Ministers and MLAs to discuss the matter and issue the appeal. However, there is no response from UNC which called the blockade, till the report goes to the press.
After his swearing in ceremony at Raj Bhavan here on Wednesday, Biren had announced that lifting of blockade will be the first task of his government. Other priorities will include a corruption-free government and equal development of both valley and hills for a united Manipur. He even expressed his desire to hold Cabinet meetings at the hill district headquarters. Manipur has been reeling under an indefinite blockade on the two National Highways by UNC in protest against creation of new districts by the former Congress Government, since November 1 last year.
Meanwhile, State Chief Secretary O Nabakishore Singh also convened a joint meeting of the Additional Chief Secretaries, Commissioners, Secretaries and Head of Departments at Old Secretariat Conference hall here on Thursday. In the meeting, the Chief Secretary explained the priorities and commitments of the new government to the administrative heads and urged them to fulfill the desire of the government.
He also informed the administrative heads that the development of hill areas in Manipur was priority of the government and instructed them to prepare a detailed project report within a week to seek a special fund package from the Centre.
BJP rejects report: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has rejected the news reports about their coalition partner National People�s Party (NPP) threatening to pull out of the BJP-led coalition in Manipur unless its Ministers got desired portfolios.
�There is no such report. We even had a meeting (with them) today,� said BJP Manipur president K Bhabananda. All four MLAs of the NPP were given Cabinet rank in the State�s first BJP-led coalition headed by Nongthombam Biren, which took oath of office at Imphal Raj Bhawan on Wednesday.
Besides NPP, the coalition has support of Naga People�s Front, Lok Janashakti Party (LJP), All India Trinamool Congress and a Congress MLA Th Shyamkumar. But NPF, LJP and Congress MLA got just one Cabinet berth each so far. However, no portfolios have been allotted yet.
Soon after the BJP-led coalition took oath, reports started appearing that the NPP has threatened to quit the government. It even said that party has demanded the Home, Health and Family Welfare, Public Works Department (PWD) and Rural Development and �Panchayat� departments in order to stay with the coalition.
Meanwhile, responding to another question, BJP State chief also informed that the coalition partners will bring out a common minimum programme within a short time.
In another development, four Autonomous District Council members of Chandel district who belong to Congress party have joined the BJP. They are Ngamkholal Baite (Sugunu), Ch Ngamthang Mate (Saibon), T Saithang Haokip (Sangjang) and Linkhojang Haokip Turbung). A reception function was held at BJP office in Imphal on Thursday aftermoon.
Newmai News adds: Showing its desperate desire to lift the ongoing economic blockade sponsored by UNC, the newly-formed BJP-led Government in Manipur has sent a feeler to the UNC today.
According to sources, a legislator came to Senapati today and met some Naga leaders. They said that the MLA conveyed to the Naga leaders that the BJP-led Government wanted to talk on the ongoing economic blockade. It was not clear what exactly transpired between the legislator and the Naga leaders. The sources added that UNC general secretary S Milan and advisor L Adani were out of station.