With just four days to go before polling begins for the first phase in Manipur, United Naga Council (UNC), which is behind the economic blockade, has said that it’ll oppose the Congress and put its weight behind Naga Peoples’ Front (UNF)
The Assembly polls in Manipur are scheduled to take place in two phases, on March 4 and March 8.
United Naga Council is the same group that has been continuing the economic blockade in the state since November 1, 2016.
In a statement put out on Monday evening, UNC said it’ll oppose Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh and his party, Congress, and support Naga Peoples’ Front in the polls.
The UNC also asked all Nagas in the state to support candidates of NPF which has four members in the outgoing Assembly.
The UNC is responsible for imposing a blockade on NH2 and NH 37 – two lifelines of the state – since November 1 last year to protest against the state government’s decision to create 7 new districts which. UNC believes that the creation of new districts will bifurcate ancestral lands of Nagas in Manipur.
UNC also criticised the Ibobi Singh government for the arrest of its president Gaidon Kamei who was taken into custody on November 25 in connection with the blockade.
The economic blockade has crippled the landlocked state and severely curtailed the supply of essential commodities to Manipur. That in turn has increased the prices of basic essentials which are scarcely available.
The blockade has become a major election issue. Political parties have been blaming each other for the situation.
Just last week, while addressing a rally in Imphal, PM Modi had said that if the BJP is voted to power, he will get rid of the economic blockade.
Earlier, the three-time chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh had said that he was ready for tripartite talks with the United Naga Council to end the economic blockade.
But the chief minister also accused the BJP of having a “tacit understanding with the UNC”.
(With inputs from PTI)