Thursday, June 13, 2024

“Too late in speaking out, but PM Modi never heeds”: Opp leaders react to RSS chief’s remarks on Manipur violence

The Opposition leaders reiterated their criticism against Narendra Modi and the BJP government regarding their handling of the situation and ongoing unrest in Manipur, where hundreds were killed and injured, reacting to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat’s recent comments on the issue.

Speaking at an RSS programme in Nagpur, the Hindutva leader emphasized the urgent need to resolve the conflict in Manipur, marking his first public remarks following the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

His statement has sparked a flurry of reactions from various quarters, each weighing in on the causes and solutions to the violence plaguing Manipur.

Leaders from Congress and other Opposition parties have backed RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s statement on the ongoing violence in Manipur, criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the deteriorating situation in the northeastern state. Opposition leaders asked PM Modi to pay heed to Bhagwat’s comments about the situation in strife-torn Manipur, which has seen violence for over a year now, urging the government to consider it a priority.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said Bhagwat could perhaps prevail upon the “former RSS office-bearer” and make a visit to the northeastern state himself. In an X post, Ramesh said, “If not the ‘one-third’ Prime Minister’s conscience or the repeated demands of the people of Manipur, perhaps Mr. Bhagwat can prevail upon the former RSS office-bearer to go to Manipur.”

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav said that while Bhagwat delivered the right message on Manipur, he aired his concerns a bit too late. When asked about the RSS chief’s comments, Yadav said, “He has been too late in speaking out.” The RJD leader added, “The prime minister, on his part, has merely kept silent on every crisis, be it violence in that state, or protests by farmers and female wrestlers in Delhi.”

Former Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said, “Mohan Bhagwat is saying so based on his experience. He must have said about the arrogance that is visible. Mohan Bhagwat’s remarks on Manipur after a year show that the differences between BJP and RSS, which were highlighted by JP Nadda, are evident now.”

“I welcome from the bottom of my heart the statement made by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat about the unrest in Manipur. I thank him for being sensitive on the issue and raising it in one of his organisational meetings. It has been very painful and the Union government has been insensitive over it,” NCP (SP) leader and elect-MP Supriya Sule said.

Rajya Sabha member Kapil Sibal said it is “not in the DNA” of PM Modi to listen to the words of the Opposition, but he should pay heed to the RSS chief’s advice. He also cautioned the NDA government on repeating what had happened over the last 10 years of their government. “I have been saying this for months, with statements an environment of ‘us versus them’ is being created. We need to take the country forward. I welcome the statement of Mohan Bhagwat,” Sibal said.

He added, “When I was in the Rajya Sabha, in 1998-2004, there was a Vajpayee government. I heard his speeches many times, he used to call the Opposition ‘Pratipaksh’, he used to say you are not our virodhi. PM Modi made the Opposition ‘Virodhi’.”

Manipur plunged into violence between the Meitei and Kuki communities in May last year. Since then more than 200 people have been killed, mostly Kukis, while thousands have been displaced following large-scale arson that has gutted homes and government buildings. Fresh violence has been reported from Jiribam over the past few days.

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