Lorho S. Pfoze, Naga People’s Front (NPF) MP from the Outer Manipur constituency, told The Hindu on Saturday that he had wished to speak on Manipur in the House during the debate on the no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition, but was “advised informally by his friends in the alliance, particularly the BJP, not to speak on the issue”.
The Manipur MP, under whose constituency are areas that have seen the brunt of the violence in the ongoing ethnic conflict, said that he had wanted to convey to his constituents and to the people of India that this violence should have been stopped, and that the government is serious about bringing back normalcy and peace.
He said that the bulk of the people suffering in Manipur, particularly from the Kuki-Zo community, were his constituents, as were the Meiteis living in parts of three other districts that fall in his constituency.
Mr. Pfoze said that he was aware the no-confidence motion, mainly on the issue of Manipur, was coming up and wanted to speak on it in the House. “I was talking to various people. My friends from the alliance group, particularly from the BJP, they advised, they spoke to me and they said that Honourable Grih Mantri-ji (Home Minister Amit Shah) will be speaking very much on Manipur and so it is advisable not to speak.”
Mr. Pfoze said that he did not ask the Speaker formally for a chance to speak after this because, “I knew that even if I did, I would not be given.”
Mr. Pfoze further said that when he checked with the only other Lok Sabha MP from Manipur, the BJP’s R.K. Ranjan Singh (Inner Manipur), “He was also advised not to speak.”
Mr. Singh, a Minister of State in the Union government’s Ministry of External Affairs, did not respond to calls from The Hindu.
“In fact, because we are the people actually representing our people out there in Manipur, we should be asked to speak. That would have built the confidence in my people because elections are coming and it is needful for our people to know that the government is serious about dealing with the issues confronting Manipur people,” Mr. Pfoze said.
In a post on X (formerly known as Twitter), Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi, who moved the no-confidence motion, said on Saturday: “Everybody spoke in the Indian parliament on Manipur including me, but the BJP did not allow the 2 MPs from Manipur to speak. I begged the Speaker but Both PM Modi and Home Amit Shah did not have the sensitivity or patience to listen to Manipur MPs for even 2 minutes.”
MP and general secretary in-charge of the Congress’ communications, Jairam Ramesh, sharing a news clip of Mr. Singh, also posted on social media: “BJP MP from Manipur was not allowed to speak in Parliament even after requesting. This is not only unfortunate but an insult to the entire Manipur… It is shameful for the BJP to stop its own MP from Manipur and Minister of State for External Affairs from speaking at such a time.”
But even as he said that the NPF will be “holding the alliance as it is for the moment”, Mr. Pfoze said they were in an alliance with the government “because of various political compulsions”, and that it was for the party to take a call on the future course of action.
Reacting to the Prime Minister’s remarks on Manipur in the House, Mr. Pfoze said it was “too late, too less”. He said that much of the PM’s time had been spent highlighting the development of the northeastern region and accusing various political parties, “particularly the Congress”, and that he understood these may be relevant to a no-confidence motion.
“But, the whole no-confidence motion was on Manipur. I thought that he [the PM] should have spoken on Manipur first and then he should have given a little more time for his proposal or his plan on how to bring back peace and normalcy back to Manipur,” the NPF MP said.
Also read |Peace will be restored in Manipur, PM Modi assures Lok Sabha
“We will only expect that the government will be a little more sensitive in its response to the emotional needs of the people. We only wish that the government does something soon, something drastic, so that normalcy will be brought or at least the violence is stopped,” Mr. Pfoze said.