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Can Mr. Biren pull it off?

by Rinku Khumukcham
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In the wake of the ongoing violence that has plagued Manipur for over two months, Chief Minister N Biren Singh’s leadership abilities have come under intense scrutiny. Both Kuki and Meitei communities have voiced their frustrations, taunting the Chief Minister for his perceived incapability in quelling the escalating situation. The public sentiment regarding Singh’s performance ranges from demands for his resignation to expectations of bold actions to restore peace, while some accuse him of trying to evade responsibility by allowing another minister to bear the consequences.
On July 1, thousands of people gathered outside Singh’s official residence, vehemently pressuring him not to resign from his position. The crowd thwarted his attempt to reach the Raj Bhavan and meet with Governor Anusuiya Uikey. As early as 10:00 am, around 30 individuals had assembled near the Nupee Lal Memorial complex, a mere 100 meters from the Chief Minister’s residence. Throughout the day, the crowd swelled in size from various directions, effectively blocking the road until 3 pm.
Curiously, despite the presence of numerous security personnel, including the Rapid Action Force, no efforts were made to prevent the gathering even though the area is highly sensitive security zone. This raises questions among intellectuals about how the security forces were convinced that the mob posed no threat to the Chief Minister, his residence, the Raj Bhavan, and nearby government buildings, including the Bharatiya Janata Party office. Should the government’s intelligence team be praised for their accurate assessment of the mob? Just like: “Bravo! You have prevented the people from tear gas, lathi charge and what not.” Or should they be criticized for their lack of intelligence and not controlling the May 3 and the ensuing incidents?
Opposition parties have dismissed these events as mere theatrics, emphasizing that the Chief Minister has other channels through which he can tender his resignation. Following the tearing of his resignation letter, Singh took to Twitter, stating, “At this crucial juncture, I wish to clarify that I will not be resigning from the post of Chief Minister.” Unfortunately, it is evident that both he and his superior, Mr. Shah, have been unable to restore normalcy, resulting in loss of life on both sides.
The people of Manipur, or at least those who thronged to the Chief Minister’s residence on July 1, believed that Mr. Biren will save Manipur and its people. The recent events have amplified the need for accountability and effective leadership in Manipur. It is imperative that Chief Minister N Biren Singh rises to the occasion, takes concrete steps to address the ongoing violence, and demonstrates a genuine commitment to the welfare and safety of the state’s residents. The people of Manipur deserve a leader who can restore peace, foster unity, and safeguard their lives and livelihoods. Or, are we waiting for “BABU SINGH GI OINA” – the adage about waiting the left hand of boxer Babu Singh.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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