Bombs, grenades recovered a day before Modi’s election rally in Manipur

Guwahati: A day before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election rally in Imphal, police have recovered a hand grenade and a bomb each, from separate places in Manipur, on February 24.

A Chinese-made hand grenade was found near the gate of BJP candidate Soibam Subhachandra’s residence at Ningombam Leikai in Imphal West district, 9-km away from the Langjing Achouba ground, where the Prime Minister is scheduled to address an election rally, on February 25.

Another one was found in front of another BJP worker O Sunil’s residence in Thoubal district, 40-km away from the rally venue.

The bombs were recovered after the Coordination Committee (CorCom), a joint platform of Manipuri militant outfits, had called for a complete shutdown in the state and boycott of the election rally.

The CorCom, comprises of four outfits – the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Prepak) and Prepak (Progressive).

The group, which maintained silence over the Manipur elections, called for a complete shutdown in the state soon after the Prime Minister’s visit was announced.

The outfit, operating from Myanmar, was also conspicuous by their silence on economic blockade called by United Naga Council. The economic blockade since November 2016 has caused immense hardship to the people living in the state.

Calling the PM’s visit to the state yet another step to suppress the people of the state, the separatist outfit said that the boycott is part of its policy to oppose visits by the topmost Indian leader.

The CorCom accused New Delhi of suppressing the people of Manipur for the last 67 years, subjecting the state to atrocities.

Earlier, the BJP had planned to host PM’s rally inside the historic Kangla Fort in Imphal. However, they changed the venue after Irom Sharmila Chanu’s newly floated party, People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA), lodged a complaint with the Election Commission, arguing that Kangla is a sacred place with many religious sites.

Meanwhile, ruling Congress has also launched campaign to counter Modi by saying that in the election rally, the PM should spell out the details of draft agreement signed with NSCN (I-M).

It is significant that economic blockade by UNC has polarized the electorates of Imphal valley and political observers are of the view that Congress would benefit from it.

The Prime Minister’s rally in Imphal may change the mood of electorates as he is said to have taken a tough stand against the boycott call of UNC backed by NSCN (I-M).

Manipur is going to polls in two phases on March 4 and 8 and results will be announced on March 11.

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