The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) on Tuesday demanded Chief Minister N Biren to give unconditional public apology to the people of Manipur for his recent remarks on free rice, free medicines and free vaccines being provided to the people.
In a voice note circulated to the media, MPCC president Govindas Konthoujam stated that the remarks made by the chief minister is "unforgivable and morally dehumanising words to our poor and needy people in the state during covid pandemic."
The president said that Biren ridiculed the people in his speech by asking from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi would give free rice, free medicines and free vaccine if there were no returns, and whether the free items would fall from sky.
By raising such question, the chief minister has created an infamous record of publicly humiliating and mocking the helplessness of the ordinary citizens of India in Manipur, he stated.
On behalf of the Indian National Congress (INC), Govindas also stated that he strongly condemned the remarks made by the chief minister.
The insensitivity of and humiliatingly public mockery by the BJP chief minister's statements towards the poor people of Manipur shows that Manipur's BJP government has no regards for the poor people in the state, he added.
The president questioned, does not the BJP government hold the constitutional obligations to help the poor by providing them the free rice, the free medicines and the free vaccines as per the constitutional and fundamental rights, and as guaranteed in statutory acts passed in the Parliament and national government's executive policy?
"As per National Disaster Management Act, food, medicines, essential commodities, drinking water, shelter and others are to be provided for free to the people during notified national calamities. And the Covid pandemic has already been notified as a national disaster," he added.
The chief minister was asking what the previous Congress governments had done for the state in 15 years, he stated, asking, "Does Biren mean to say that the then Congress government, in which he was the minister from 2007 to 2012, did not do anything for the people of the state? Does he mean to say that he, as the then Congress government spokesperson, did not announce to the people about the good governance and development done by the Congress government?"
"Biren's hypocrisy and double speak are being exposed today, and the people of Manipur are its witness," he stated.
Govindas also alleged that the BJP government is doing double standard politics during the Covid pandemic by consistently raising heavy taxes on petrol and giving back nothing to the people to fight the pandemic.
Pointing out that since 2017 the people of Manipur have already given Rs 702 crore as state's taxes from petrol as per the Centre's PPAC data, he asked how many crores has your BJP government given back to the people of Manipur during covid pandemic?
He further asked why the state government take Rs 167 crore as taxes from petrol during covid pandemic (2020-21) instead of giving something back in the form of an economic package to the poor and needy people of the state to fight the covid pandemic?
The president further pointed out that the Modi government received Rs. 20.55 lakh crore since 2014 till date as taxes from the people of India through petrol and during the Covid pandemic (2020-21), the Centre has received Rs. 2.76 lakh crore from the people's pockets.
"If the people of India gave Rs. 20.55 lakh crore to the Modi government, why should not the Modi government spend something for the people of India during covid pandemic? And as the Modi government took Rs. 2.76 lakh crore from the people through petrol during Covid pandemic, did Modi government spend Rs. 2 lakh crore to fight covid pandemic in our nation?" he questioned.
Govindas also asked when will the chief minister produce the white paper of the donations received and its corresponding expenditure, the amount received by the state government from the Centre and the details of the Chief Minister's Relief Fund on Covid pandemic during the first wave?
He further asked the amount that have been spent from the state exchequer by the state BJP government to fight covid pandemic, both in the first and the second wave of the pandemic?
What has the state BJP government done to give additional rice, medicines and vaccines, above the allotted statutory rights of the beneficiaries of the centrally sponsored schemes, for the entire population of Manipur during covid pandemic, the president further questioned.
Reminding that it is only the Congress party that has felt the needs of the poor, the downtrodden and the needy people of our state, Govindas appealed to the people of the state to raise questions for their rights to the BJP regime.
"The Congress always stands for the rights and the dignity of the poorest of the poor in our society," the president lastly added.