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TKS bats for allotment of at least one cabinet berth to MLAs from Ukhrul district

Khashim Vashum, Ram Muivah and Leishiyo Keishing - three elected MLAs from Ukhrul Districts

Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS), the apex student body of Tangkhul community has demanded cabinet berths for at least one elected representative from Ukhrul District for equal development and peaceful co-existence.

By Tennoson Pheiray, TFM Ukhrul Correspondent

While the first election in India was held in 1952, Manipur had already conducted the democratic exercise in June 11, 1948 during the reign of Maharaja Bodhchandra. The first sitting of the 53 member Manipur Legislative Assembly was held on October 18, 1948 at Durbar Hall. Five Tangkhuls were elected. These elected representatives were Major Bob Khathing Ralengnao from 39-Sadar Hill, Luiying Hungyo from 40-Phaisat, T Luikham from 41-Ukhrul, MK Shimray from 42- Chingjaroi and R Suisa from 53- Tolloi Hill. With the merger of Manipur into the Union of India in 1949, the Assembly was dissolved and the seat of Ukhrul District was reduced to 3 Assembly Constituency namely 43-Phungyar, 44-Ukhrul and 45-Chingai Assembly Constituencies.

For inclusive and peaceful co-existence of Manipur, the Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS), the apex student body of Tangkhul community has written to Chairman of NEDA Himanta Biswas Sarma to select at least an MLA from Ukhrul District and allot a cabinet berth.

The Saklong stated that “Ukhrul district was denied Cabinet Minister for the last 20 years by the Manipur State Government (15 years by Congress led Government and 5 years by the BJP led government) which amounts to injustice and discrimination of the people of Ukhrul. It is pertinent to mention that Ukhrul district deserves a Cabinet Minister in the Manipur State Government. Ukhrul is the home district of two Chief Ministers of Manipur viz., (L) Yangmaso Shaiza and (L) Rishang Keishing. Incidentally, Ukhrul is also the hometown of legendary Major Bob Khathing MC, VC, Padmashri who occupied Tawang, the most beautiful corner of India on February 6, 1951. “Today thanks to Maj Bob Khathing, Tawang is a part of India now. The people of Ukhrul, naturally, feel deeply saddened, disappointed and betrayed by the state government of Manipur for ignoring Ukhrul District by not selecting a Cabinet Minister for the past 20 years,” said TKS.

In a joint press release signed by President of Raphei Katamnao Long (North), Somipam Vashum, President of Zingtun Katamnao Long (Western), P. Epchan and President of Sagolmang Area Naga Students’ Association (SANSA), Khayaising Maza, President of Yang Raphei Longnao (YRL) Starson Shatsang and President of Northern Raphei Students Union (NRSU), Runmi Zimik, the students community from 45-Chingai Assembly Constituency has called for allotment of cabinet berth to one of the MLAs from Ukhrul District.

The joint release stated “At the outset, we extend our warm regards to all the winning candidates in the 12th Manipur Legislative Election, especially to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for returning to power with an absolute majority. The result of the recently concluded Assembly election is also an indicator of the inclusive policy being cultivated by the BJP in their previous term. Now, with the hope that such inclusiveness will be encouraged in the future for the peaceful coexistence of Hills and Valley, we will appreciate if a cabinet berth to one of the MLA’s from the Ukhrul district can be accommodated in the Council of Ministers.

“Moreover, to put facts into perspective, it’s been more than two decades since the assignment of portfolio to the Ukhrul district in general and 45 – Chingai (ST) AC in particular. And among the MLA’s from Ukhrul District, we felt it very necessity to assign the cabinet berth to the Hon’ble MLA from 45-Chingai (ST) AC, Khashim Vashum, who represents the neglected area of the state, which borders Nagaland state and Myanmar. With the assignment of  cabinet berth to the said MLA, we are expecting to see an equitable development in the state and will also help to achieve the vision of Hills and Valley being one.”

NPF has been associated with the BJP since 2017 and has also officially declared its support to the saffron party recently. Ukhrul and Kamjong districts had one NPF MLA each in the previous saffron party-led coalition government without any ministerial portfolio. This time around, with three elected legislators of NPF from Ukhrul and Kamjong Districts, the people of Ukhrul is certainly hoping for at least a cabinet berth.

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