Rajnath urges warring communities in Manipur to resolve ethnic crisis through talks

IANS Photo

IANS Photo

AIZAWL, NOVEMBER 1 (IANS): Defence Minister and veteran BJP leader Rajnath Singh on Wednesday made an ardent appeal to the warring Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur to sit together and hold a heart-to-heart talk to end the ongoing crisis in the state.

Addressing an election rally in Western Mizoram's Mamit district, Singh said that violence never solves any problems, heart-to-heart relations can only solve the problem.

"Mizoram is now a peaceful state. The warring communities sitting together can resolve their disputes and stop the unfortunate incidents of violence," the Union minister said.

Ethnic violence in Manipur became a major election issue in poll-bound Mizoram, where around 13,000 Zo-Kuki-Chin tribals took shelter after being displaced from the neighbouring state.

Saying that the drug menace has been badly affecting Mizoram for the past many years, Singh announced that an operation to ensure a drug-free Mizoram would be launched if the BJP comes to power in the state in the November 7 assembly elections.

"When Congress was in power at the Centre, they carried out the country's first air strike on Mizoram. The BJP government at the Centre would never do such actions," he said.

The Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out an air strike in Aizwal in 1966 when insurgency was at its peak in the mountainous region.

Slamming the MNF (Mizo National Front) government, Singh, former BJP's National President, said that there are huge corruptions going on in the state and if BJP comes to power, a Special Investigation would be launched to probe the scam.

The ruling MNF is an ally of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, Rs 5 lakh health benefit scheme would be increased to Rs 10 lakh and a Sports Academy would be set up in Mizoram with fully funded by the Central government, the Union Minister announced and said that sporting talents in Mizoram and in the other northeastern states are the main power house of India's sports sectors.

Noting that the Congress government at the Centre had neglected the northeast but after Modi (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) government came to power, a massive development has been started across the region.

Quoting former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Singh said that during the Congress regime out of 100 paisa sanctioned by the government only 14 paisa reached at the grassroots.

In 2014, there were only eight airports in the northeast but now 17 airports are operational in the region, he said, adding that rail, road and waterway connectivity were also increased.

Till 2014, there was only 8400 km of national highway in the northeast and now it has increased to 15,700 km, he added.

Highlighting that infrastructure development has also been very remarkable in the region under the present Central government, he informed the gathering that the railway connectivity is being extended up to Mizoram's border with Myanmar to boost trade and tourism.

Government has undertaken an ambitious project to connect northeast India with Thailand and when this highway project is completed, the entire northeast would be transformed tremendously while Mizoram would also get its advantage, the defence minister said.

Singh said that the BJP would change the development landscape of Mizoram if it comes to power in the state and added that the BJP is synonymous with development and good governance.

"Mizoram is 2500 km away from Delhi but the state is close to the hearts of the central government."

Elections for the 40-seat Mizoram assembly would be held on November 7 and the BJP has fielded candidates in 23 constituencies.