BJP govt ‘bribed’ militants to influence voters in Manipur: Jairam Ramesh

Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Thursday accused the BJP government in Manipur of “bribing” banned militant groups under “Suspension of Operation” to “influence the voters in the poll bound state”.

Ramesh, who is Congress’ election in-charge in Manipur, claimed that in a “shocking and flagrant violation” of the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct, BJP government in Manipur released over Rs 15.70 crore on February 1 and over Rs 92.65 lakh on March 1 to banned militant groups under the “Suspension of Operation”. Both the payments have been released by the Union Home Ministry and made by the state government, he added.

“These payments ensured that the elections in Churachandpur and Kangpokpi districts in the first phase on February 28 could not proceed freely, fairly and peacefully. The bribes to banned militant groups under the ‘Suspension of Operation’ would also influence the elections in Tengnoupal and Chandel districts in the second phase on March 5,” the Congress leader told the media.

Sharing the cheque numbers and other bank details, he said: “This is how the BJP is buying elections in Manipur, spreading fear and intimidating voters. This is how the BJP is indulging in corruption to remain in power.”

The former union minister said that payments of crores of money on the run up to the elections reflects the priorities of the double-engine “BJP government”. “These payments were made when majority of the one lakh state government employees have not received salaries for two months.”

“Such unethical payments to the militant outfits were made when 6,000 mid-day meal cooks have not been paid for 18 months, when majority of the former state govt employees have not received their pensions in the last six months, when almost all pensioners have not received their retirement benefits,” Ramesh asserted.

The Congress leader alleged that the BJP governments at the Centre and the state, using the money power, have turned “Manipur into Moneypur” and such a thing has never happened in the other parts of the country so far.

The pro-talks militant outfits specially the Kuki groups, which are under ceasefire agreements with the governments for the past four years, are currently residing at various designated camps in Manipur. Around 2,000 cadres of various militant outfits are living in the 14 designated camps in different hill districts of Manipur.

Ramesh asserted that the Congress never opposed the “Suspension of Operation” against the militant outfits and never against the talks with the extremists groups.

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