Exclusive - Sonia Gandhi had asked chief ministers to oppose Nagaland peace accord: BJP

Kiren Rijiju held the Congress responsible for the crisis in Manipur. Photograph:( AFP )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 24, 2017, 04.21 PM (IST) Kartikeya Sharma

In an exclusive interview with WION's Kartikeya Sharma, Kiren Rijiju, minister for state in the central government blamed the Congress party for the current turmoil in the state. He accused the party of tarnishing the BJP's image by saying it was trying to alter Manipur's border with Nagaland.
Q: Why are BJP leaders at pains to explain that the Nagaland peace accord will not lead to territorial realignment of Manipur?

A: Why should we mix up issues. Problems of Manipur are different and the state is reeling under tremendous pressure because of various forces and is working like an obstacle to the path of development. Manipur has the potential but the root cause of its problem is the Congress Party. Whether it is the Naga issue or local issues, Congress has created it. We have to start afresh.

Q: How do you express the anxiety in Manipur’s civil society on Nagalim?

A: It is because Congress Party has launched a malicious campaign that BJP is going to alter the boundary with Manipur. The talks with the Nagas have been taking place from a long time. There are other stake holders also and it cannot be linked with Manipur state elections. They are creating false alarm to divert the attention of the people of Manipur from lack development.

Q: Then what is the truth of the Naga accord? North East Chief Ministers met the President and said that they were not taken into confidence?

A: On the day of the signing of the framework agreement, all the Congress chief ministers congratulated. After three days Sonia Gandhi called up the chief ministers asking them as to why are they congratulating the BJP government. She asked them to oppose it. This is on official record. Congress chief ministers had tweeted congratulating us. Suddenly after three days, Congress President made the call?

Q: Are you saying that Sonia Gandhi churned a political turmoil?

A: It is absolutely visible. I’m not saying it. It is on record. You see the statements and tweets. After three days, they took a U-turn. It was childish.

Q: New districts were created by Ibobi Singh (Manipur chief minister) before the elections and the blockade happened. But the feeling is also there that Centre didn't do enough to ameliorate the condition?

A: This is totally unbecoming on part of the Congress chief minister. When he signed the letter in 2011, we were not part of it. Then P Chidambaram was the home minister. He came to Manipur and the Chief Minister Ibobi Singh said that new districts wouldn’t be formed till all communities were on board. Then he created the district. He created the problem. Why did he give this commitment earlier? He is responsible for the present situation.

Q: If your government comes to power then how will you address this issue?

A: This is an administrative matter. We will look at them after formation of the government.