BJP to secure at least 40 seats in Manipur — CM Biren Singh
Imphal, Jan. 31 (IANS): Manipur Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Nongthombam Biren Singh, 61, is confident of retaining power by securing at least 40 seats (in the 60-member assembly) and said that his government would propose to the Centre to withdraw the contentious Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) when a conducive situation arises in the state.
A former footballer and editor of a vernacular newspaper, Singh, who led the first BJP-led coalition government in Manipur since 2017, during an interview with IANS said that national security and the situation in the neighbouring coup hit Myanmar would be given top priority before withdrawing AFSPA, which turned into a top political issue in the entire northeastern region after the killing of 14 people in neighbouring Nagaland by the security forces in December last year.
Singh said that BJP would secure two-third majority as the government has done a lot of good work and development besides improving the law and order situation in the state.
“With ‘Go to Hills’ and ‘Go to Village Mission’ schemes, we are reaching out to village to village, house to house providing various benefits of the Central government and the state government at the door steps of the people”, he stated.
Under the Centre’s ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme, a benefit of INR 5 lakh is being given to the needy people and the number of beneficiaries in Manipur of the scheme also crossed 4 lakh, he further informed.
“When our government came to power (in 2017), only 5.7 per cent of the total households were connected with tap water (to get the drinking water) and now, in the last five years, we have crossed 62 per cent of households”, he said.
Stating that women empowerment has always been the priority, he informed that ‘Ima Market’ (all women markets also called ‘Ima Keithal’ or the ‘Mother’s Market’) has been constructed in all the seven hill districts of Churachandpur, Ukhrul, Jiribam, Kangpokpi, Tamenglong, Senapati, and Chandel district.
Through the TRIFED (Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India) and many other schemes, financial support has been given to women and around 41,000 women in hilly areas are getting benefit through the SHG (Self Help Groups), he said.
A Congress-turned-BJP leader, Singh has been in the active politics for more than two decades. He was first elected to the Manipur assembly in 2002 and this time too, would contest from his traditional Heingang seat.