IMPHAL, December 10: All India Congress Committee general secretary, Rahul Gandhi visited the state today for a brief one and half hour stay, amidst a tight security arrangement.
During his short stay, the AICC general secretary attended a state level convention of local bodies’ elected members on ‘local self-governance and 16 point flagship programme of the UPA as the chief guest at the Hapta Kangjeibung.
The convention was also attended by MPCC president Gaikhangam and state Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh as president and guest of honour respectively.
The AICC leader was received by a team led by the MPCC president, Gaikhangam and state Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh at the Imphal Tulihal Airport after his special flight landed at 11:55am.
Rahul Gandhi went directly to Hapta Kangjeibung the venue for the convention, where he was received with loud slogan shoutings- “Rahul Gandhi Zindabad”, “Congress party Zindabad”, etc by party workers and leaders.
Starting his speech exactly at 1pm, the AICC general secretary while expressing his fondness for the state said he considers Manipur as his “second home”.
He continued by expressing his happiness in visiting the North Eastern states including Manipur.
“Being a politician, I often ask myself on what steps I should take up for the benefit and welfare of the people”, he said before continuing, “I often consider the principles which guide a politician and about how I should use it”.
Continuing with his speech, the AICC general secretary said that these days, politicians seem to be oblivious of long term visions.
Dwelling further on the issue, he said a politician should be able to listen to the people’s voice if he aspires to serve the people.
Watching boxer Mary Kom during the London Olympic, he thought to himself that she too is from the same family.
Though the states may be far from one another, all states are from just one country, he said.
The Congress party has presented several schemes for the people like the PMGSY, MGNREGA, RTI, RTE and Right to Food, however all such initiatives of the Congress will only succeed if the 60 MLAs and 4000 local body representatives work hand in hand, he said.
The AICC general secretary also said that the process to introduce the devolution of power system which is still absent in states like Jharkhand and J&K is on.
Quoting his late father former Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi; the Gandhi scion said out of every Re 1 invested by the government for the people, only 15 paise reaches the public.
The AICC leader also said that the government in order to bring a direct cash transfer of government money to the actual beneficiaries the general public, the centre will soon implement a Rs 200 crore scheme.
Today’s vote of thanks was addressed by Health Minister Phungzathang, however the speech had to end abruptly after the spectators and supporters started to leave the ground as soon as the AICC general secretary ended his speech.
Meanwhile, after coming down from the stage, Rahul Gandhi broke away from the group accompanying him including state Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, MPCC president Gaikhangam and other and mingled with the crowd of supporters through the wooden railings. The AICC general secretary even went to the extent of shaking hands with everyone by crossing the wooden fencing.
Meanwhile, speaking at the function, the state Chief Minister said, “Today I acknowledge the tremendous contribution made by the Congress Party-led UPA Government at the Centre to bridge the infrastructure gap to some extent”.
“We believe the Congress Party-led Union Government`s commitment to Manipur`s development is unparalleled in history. We continue to look forward to more assistance in the years to come”, the state Chief Minister said.
Addressing the visiting AICC general secretary, he continued, “Rahul Gandhi as you know, my state has a very rich cultural heritage”.
“The people of Manipur have hope and faith in Congress party to bring the development to Manipur which had been shown in the last Assembly Elections 2012 by giving historic victory to the Congress party for the third consecutive term”, he continued.
The state Chief Minister also elaborated on the various successful ventures of the Congress in the state including the conduct of ADC election by the Congress led then state government in the five hill districts of the state.
“To bring more transparency in Local Self government, the process of making Ombudsman Act in the pipe line and will be brought sooner”, the CM continued.
Regarding the 16 points Flagship programmes of the Congress led UPA government, the CM said, “The congress led state government has imple ented 16 point Flagship schemes of Congress led UPA government in delivering its objectives and services to the people”.
“As the main motto of Congress led Government at Centre to fight corruption and promote transparency, the RTI act has been implemented effectively in Manipur by the present Congress Government here”, he said.
On the other hand women supporters who had arrived to attend the function were not allowed to carry their hand bags inside the venue and as such they had to leave their bags at the nearby hotels and shops. The supporters were also not allowed to carry anything including water bottles, papers, pens and even the Congress flags, festoons, banners.
Some of the supporters who had nowhere to leave their belongings had to stand outside the venue.
As soon as Rahul Gandhi entered the venue, the police denied everyone outside the venue entry inside, which angered a lot of the supporters. The supporters were however admitted in the end.