The people of Manipur woke up to a delightful news yesterday. The economic blockade that had crippled the entire state since last 140 days, had been lifted due to the efforts of newly formed BJP government under the leadership of N Biren Singh in Manipur. “The 140-day-long existing blockade in Manipur was lifted due to the dedicated efforts of new Manipur Chief Minister Biren Singh,” union minister for development of north-east region Sh Jitendra Singh said. Chief Minister N Biren Singh also tweeted the major development in the state, which had paralysed the entire state for almost 5 months.
A very good morning to all. Finally Manipur is blockade free. Thanks to all who have made it happen. It's a team effort and will always be.
— N Biren Singh (@NBirenSingh) March 20, 2017
The blockade was imposed by United Naga Council on 1 November last year in a protest against the creation of seven new districts in the state. The Nagas had alleged that the new districts encroach their ancestral land, and the creation of new districts will lead to division of Naga votes by creation of new constituencies. The Congress led state government was not able to reach any consensus over the decision and United Naga Council declared a blockade in the state, due to which necessary items like fuel, medicines, food items and essential supplies could not reach the state. Due to the blockade, the situation worsened all over the state and the supplies were totally cut-off.
The United Naga Council blocked National Highway 2 and 37 and stopped all trucks carrying any kind of supply to Imphal. Then Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh did not show any intent to resolve the issue. A tripartite meeting involving Central government, Manipur government and the UNC was scheduled in the second week of November to reach a consensus and lift the blockade. However, on 15 November, one of the stakeholders – the Manipur government – backed out of the meeting jeopardizing the chances of lifting the economic blockade. On 25 November, Manipur government arrested UNC president Gaidon Kamei and information secretary Stephen Lamkang, thereby ending the remote chance of ending the blockade. After the arrest, the blockade turned into ‘total shutdown’. Apart from blockade, instances of violence were reported. Paramilitary was sent to the state and mobile internet services were suspended.
In election rally, PM Modi openly exposed the Congress government of Manipur saying that centre can lift blockade in 2 days if the Manipur government agrees. He accused CM Ibobi Singh of deliberately letting the blockade in the state continue, which was true. Since a BJP wave was sweeping the state, Congress thought that an economic blockade will create anger against the central government. However, people could see through the nefarious designs and dirty tricks of Congress.
After BJP formed the government in the state and N Biren Singh took the oath as the chief minister, the government said that its first aim would be to remove the blockade. The tripartite meeting involving UNC, Manipur government and central government, which should have technically been on 15 November 2016 was held on 19 March 2017 and the UNC decided to lift the blockade completely from the morning of 20 March 2017. What Congress could not (or deliberately did not) do in 5 months, BJP did in 5 days. To serve people, will power and intention is needed, which BJP showed.