Leader Writer: Hrishikesh Angom
It seems that the “2012” election campaign for the Congress Party has kicked off with Sonia Gandhi’s four-hour Manipur visit for inaugurating some major projects of Khuga Dam, Ema Keithel and others. The Congress Supremo has quite lauded the SPF government under the leadership of O. Ibobi for taking up so many development projects especially for the recent successful holding of ADC election in the five hill districts of Manipur after a gap of more than 20 years. Sonia talked of the efficiency of the Congress Party in the country right from the period of Nehru to Manmohan. She mentioned “Congress, Congress…” all throughout her speech delivered at the public meeting held at Kangla. Even though there is one year and few months left for the next general election to be held, Sonia Gandhi has hurriedly begun the campaign to set up the Congress government once again in Manipur for the third consecutive term.
The Chief Minister O. Ibobi also did his best level to please the Congress Chief. His praise for the Congress-led UPA government knows no bound. The eight years’ achievement of the SPF government was presented before Sonia Gandhi in few minutes’ speeches of the Chief Minister as well as MPCC President Gaikhangam. The Congress leaders have indeed called for people’s support to upkeep the legacy of Congress in the state. Sonia’s four-hour visit to the state has been a landmark event for the MPCC but not for the people of the state. The people remained aloof from welcoming the UPA Chairperson by imposing boycott and general strike. The crowds for the public meeting at Kangla were arranged by the Congress MLAs from their respective constituencies but no one turned up voluntarily. The visit of Sonia Gandhi was simply a mere inauguration function held ahead of the 2012 general election of the state.
Moreover, Sonia has failed to take notice of the decade long struggle of Irom Chanu Sharmila for the repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958. Much to disappoint the people of Manipur she has not mentioned even a single word on Sharmila’s struggle though she has expressed bountiful of words for MC Kom and others who have brought laurels to the country. The rights groups have been insisting the Congress Supremo to meet the Iron Lady in her fourth visit to Manipur. However, her schedule for Manipur’s visit was meant only to appease the Congressmen of the state who have been eagerly waiting for this big day to happen. Nothing significant has happened in her four-hour visit rather than initiating the election campaign.
It would have been proper if Sonia Gandhi had come for the Congress Party rather than for the inauguration of the projects. She kept on highlighting the goodness of Congress Party stating that such and such things have been accomplished under the rule of such and such Congress leaders. If she had come in the real interests of the people of Manipur she should have at least stayed for one day and have interactions with different sections of the society to have a greater account of the grievances of the people who have been facing acute shortage of essential commodities ever since the imposition of months long blockade on the national highways. However, things have been planned in such a manner that the success of Congress has been made the success of everyone. Chief Minister has termed Sonia Gandhi’s visit as a “rare momentous event of the state”, but was it true? The sole purpose of the much awaited visit of Sonia Gandhi in Manipur turned out to be the inauguration of election campaign for the upcoming general election of 2012.