A day after Home Minister Amit Shah called for an all-party meet on June 24 to deliberate on the Manipur crisis, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Thursday questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence and said that the meeting is being called in his absence as it is not important for him.
In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi said, “Manipur is burning for last 50 days but the Prime Minister is silent. An all party meeting has been called at a time when he himself is not in the country. It is clear that for Prime Minister, this meeting is not important.”
Earlier in the day, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K.C. Venugopal also termed BJP’s move “too little too late” which came only after CPP chairperson Sonia Gandhi addressed the people of the northeastern state.
Taking a dig at Shah, Venugopal said, “Well after 50 days of death and destruction in Manipur, HM Amit Shah’s call for an all-party meeting is too little too late. The government only woke up after Sonia Gandhi ji’s address to the people of Manipur.”
Slamming the government, the Congress leader said that at the outset, the Prime Minister’s (Narendra Modi) absence from such a serious meeting displays his “cowardice and unwillingness” to confront his failures. Even when multiple delegations sought meetings with him, he had no time for them, he added.
“The Home Minister himself has presided over this situation and made no progress, in fact things have worsened since his visit. Can we expect genuine peace under his stewardship? Moreover, the continuation of the partisan state government and non-implementation of President’s Rule is a travesty,” he said.
The Congress Rajya Sabha MP said that “any effort for peace must take place in Manipur, where the warring communities are brought on the discussion table and a political solution is arrived at”.
“This effort will lack seriousness if it is done sitting in Delhi. The entire nation expects a serious intervention from the Union Government, which has been missing in action so far,” Venugopal added.
On Wednesday, Congress Parliamentary Party (CPP) chairperson Sonia Gandhi in a video statement condoled the deaths in violence-hit Manipur and appealed for peace.
Meanwhile, speaking to media at party headquarters here, Venugopal said, “The party has been demanding an all-party meeting convened by the Prime Minister all this while. Despite the passage of 53-54 days of violence and loss of lives, the Prime Minister has not uttered a single word. At least a peace call from him should have been done. When the Home Minister has already visited the state and done his exercise, then what is the need for Shah calling the meeting again. At least a meeting chaired by Prime Minister should have been convened in Manipur.
“Whatever joint press conference is happening is ok. But the Prime Minister should find a little time for our own state Manipur also,” the Congress leader added.
Even Congress general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala attacked the government and said, “To the people of Manipur who have been reeling under the horrendous violence for the past 50 days, the insensitivity and inaction of the Modi government is like rubbing salt on their festering wounds.”
“‘All-party meeting’ after the loss of hundreds of lives and destruction of thousands of families? Is this just a reaction of the government to panic after Sonia Gandhi’s message? Is the job of the Prime Minister of the country only to seek votes from the people of Manipur in the election rally? Is it Modi’s ‘self-reliant campaign’ to turn away every time the country is in trouble? After all, for how long, instead of saving ‘false image’, will it be considered necessary to save the lives of the country and its people?” Surjewala, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP wondered.
The Congress leader’s remarks came a day after the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday said that the Union Home Minister has convened an all-party meeting on June 24 at 3 p.m. in New Delhi to discuss the situation in Manipur.
Home Minister Shah had also visited the strife-torn state for four days (May 29 to June 1) and met a cross-section of people, more than 45 civil society organisations and different political parties as part of his efforts to restore peace and normalcy in the strife-torn state.
After his visit, the Home Minister had announced a slew of measures to deal with the situation.
Over 100 people have died and around 50,000 forced to live in relief camps following the violent clashes in Manipur since May 3.
The Congress has been questioning the silence of the Prime Minister on the issue.