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Interest of nation first, says CM Biren on repeal of AFSPA

FILE PHOTO: Chief Minister N Biren Singh
Stating that personally he is against AFSPA, Biren said he, however, has to  consider the requirements of national security. “An atmosphere has to be created for AFSPA’s repeal. I will work with the Centre for the repeal of AFSPA so that it does not get re-imposed. My priority is to remove AFSPA,” he added. 
TFM Desk
Amidst the renewed demand for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) across the Northeast in the aftermath of the Oting massacre in Nagaland, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh has said that although he is against the draconian Act, he has to consider the national security as well.
CM Biren told the Economic Times, “Personally, I am against AFSPA. Before making any decision, we have to consider the ground reality. We have to keep the interest of the nation first. Some militants are there, some outfits are there and our state borders Myanmar. What happens if the ceasefire collapses. An atmosphere has to be created for AFSPA’s repeal. I will work with the Centre for the repeal of AFSPA so that it does not get re-imposed. My priority is to remove AFSPA. However, I have to also see national security.”
Stating that the BJP is not going for a pre-poll alliance with other parties as of now, he exuded confidence that the party is expecting 40 seats. He also maintained that as per the high authorities’ advice, we will follow the “coalition dharma” post-poll.
“Earlier, we got 21 seats and ran a coalition government. During that coalition, I faced a lot of problems, many times instability and push and pulls. Luckily, I managed to run the government for five years,” he told the Economic Times.
On the first BJP-led government’s performance in Manipur, CM Biren said, “With the blessing of central leaders like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah and the support of the masses, I can conclude my five years’ term with peace, development and harmonious co-existence of different communities which was broken by the previous government in the last 20 to 30 years. In the past five years, we had a blockade-free, bandh-free and strike-free state. Youths are progressing towards development.”
About the chief ministerial face of BJP in Manipur, he maintained that BJP is a very disciplined and well-organised party. The leadership decision is taken by the central leaders through a democratic process.
“I cannot say that I will be there, but as far as masses are concerned, they love me,” he added.
Regarding the spurt in violent activities in Manipur, he maintained that the militants are getting stronger.
“This is politically instigated. They want to show that since the Biren-led BJP government is claiming that the state is peaceful. The last time also, before the election, they were doing this. Suspected people are picked up. Drug addicts and peddlers create this problem,” he added.
On the allegation that the hills have been neglected and the valleys given priority, CM Biren said that some questions were asked by the elected members from the hill areas. We gave a white paper and in five years, at least 45% of the budget allocation was spent on the hill area, he added.
CM Biren told the Economic Times that the BJP-led government has brought peace and development in Manipur. Earlier, by 5pm, everything was closed. Now people are moving till midnight. Shops are open and business is happening. Hills and valleys are united and there has been equal development in both areas. Youth and women are developing their own business, he said.
“Our COVID-19 management has been good, we are doing everything possible for people’s welfare. People want safety, peace and development. We have delivered on these and people want us to come back. There is a pro-incumbency wave in favour of the BJP,” he added.
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