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‘As CM, I must take full responsibility for (Manipur) loss in LS polls’: N Biren Singh

‘The working style (has to change). Central forces (in Manipur) must actively support the state government’s initiatives and help convince the original tribal people that the (state) government is not against them’

IN HIS first interview since facing a significant electoral loss in the Lok Sabha elections, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh spoke to Ritika Chopra about why he feels the BJP lost to Congress in the state, what needs to change in the future, and whether the changed equations within the NDA would affect the Centre’s approach towards him and his government in the state. Edited excerpts:

In the last year, due to the complexity of the violence, neither the state nor Central government has been able to take strong actions against the groups on both sides. This has led to dissatisfaction among the valley people with both governments (in the state and at the Centre). Although law and order is a state issue, the Central forces play a key role here, yet we are not meeting public expectations.

This is why we lost in the valley. In the outer areas, similar sentiments exist. Resolving the issues in Manipur is complex, many don’t understand the core problems. Identifying and addressing these core issues is key to solving the violence.

Why not? As CM, I must take full responsibility. Some agencies see this (the violence) as a fight between two ethnic communities, but I don’t. We began identifying and deporting illegal migrants, launched a war on drugs in 2018, destroying poppy plantations. Indigenous tribes are our citizens, but somebody is trying to misinterpret that we are against them. This sparked the violence.

They (outsiders) have injected venom and instigated the Kukis to strike against the Meiteis. The valley people

Read more on indianexpress.com