Javadekar: Manipur will go the Assam way

Neelu Vyas

After a rousing victory in Assam BJP is ready to make inroads in the second North-East state of Manipur, said Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar in an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV.

Javadekar, who is also the party Manipur election in-charge, has slammed the present regime under Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh. He accused the CM of unleashing corruption, goonda-ism that has led to underground militancy.

Javdekar said that for the last fifteen years the people of Manipur did not have an option so they continued to vote for Congress. But now BJP has not only emerged as a viable option, but also emerged as the only political party which can give them hope and deliver on their promises.

The union minister also blamed the Ibobi Singh government for the ongoing economic blockade but he remained tight-lipped about the true nature of BJP’s relationship with Naga People’s Front.

Talking about the new education policy Javdekar said that his focus will be on quality education and education will move forward according to the rule book.

Here are some edited excerpts from the interview:

Congress is well entrenched in Manipur but BJP is still building its base in the state. Is that the biggest challenge?

Assam was no big challenge for us. Manipur is frustrated with the current regime. Manipur is suffering because of militancy and lack of development.

Is BJP following the same strategy for Manipur what it followed in Assam  – of giving an alternative of good governance and inducting Congressmen into the BJP camp? 

A good sign is that we have four to five Congress MLAs so I am hopeful that the BJP will do well.

How will BJP balance out the aspirations of the people in the hills and the valley? 

PM Modi addresses people without discrimination. We are a party for all. We think of development for all.

Both BJP & Congress have used the economic blockade as a political tool for their benefit. Is that true?

We cannot intervene because of state law and order situation. A single person is responsible for the economic blockade in Manipur. Congress politics destroyed the state but BJP will restore Manipur.

What is the true nature of BJP’s relationship with the Nagas? 

We love all people, our alliance is with Nagaland. But there is no question of having a pre-poll or a post poll alliance with the Naga Peoples Front?

Why is BJP silent on the framework of the Naga peace talks? 

Amit Shah has said that the territorial integrity of Manipur is not negotiable. We see society as a whole. The interest of tribes is intact and Manipur’s overall development is our agenda. People love Modi, they attend his campaign wholeheartedly. We will have a massive victory in Manipur too. Out of 60, we will win 45 plus seats. But the territorial integrity of Manipur is supreme.

Union HRD Minister and party in-charge for Manipur Assembly polls, Prakash Javadekar speaking to RSTV's Neelu Vyas.

Union HRD Minister and party in-charge for Manipur Assembly polls, Prakash Javadekar speaking to RSTV’s Neelu Vyas.

There is a feeling that Congress has a much clearer policy on the Nagas than the BJP? 

We have clear policy for the entire country. We believe in all sections of the society. People are suffering because of the blockade. The situation reflects the political game plan of the Congress and its chief minister.

Will Irom Sharmila’s entry make a difference to Manipur and its politics? 

Democracy is a platform where everyone can contest elections. The Congress has lost the plot in Manipur.

Post demonetisation announcement, Rahul Gandhi finds resonance amongst the poor and the needy. Do you think so?

The poor have shifted to BJP from the Congress. People in Manipur are immensely inclined towards a fast digital life.

Congress says that BJP has weakened institutions like the RBI. What do you have to say? 

BJP has never interfered with RBI’s functioning. In fact Rahul Gandhi has destroyed the institution of the Prime Minister. The Congress made a dummy Prime Minister during their tenure. Congress destroyed the CVC and also the CAG system. BJP is accommodative. Congress has a wrong approach towards politics because they think that power is their birth right.

You always say that education is an emancipator and an agent of change , but so far there’s only been a status quo? 

I believe in action, education is my top priority. I will incorporate rules to reform education system. We are revamping teachers’ education as well. I’ve made class 10 mandatory for all states and we have received 90% approval rate towards it. The new education policy has five pillars. We believe in diversity and plurality. There’s also a committee established for a new education policy.

An accusation often heard against BJP is that it changes history, by saffronising the text?

We are not changing any text. Scientific temperament is a priority for us.