Strange bedfellows indeed

It may be recalled In the run-up to the 2017 assembly elections, BJP backroom boys burned midnight oil and came up with a list of misdeeds, corruption scandals and drug rackets during the 15 years of Congress rule and it formed the basis of BJP’s vicious campaign to unseat Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. But it may be noted that in politics, rhetoric and reality hardly meets.

In the run-up to the 2017 assembly elections, BJP backroom boys burned midnight oil and came up with a list of misdeeds, corruption scandals and drug rackets during the 15 years of Congress rule and it formed the basis of BJP’s vicious campaign to unseat Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh. Just before the elections BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav bellowed from the podium, “All corruption cases involving congress ministers, MLAs will be entrusted to CBI when the moment BJP comes to power. We will not spare anybody.” He further charged Congress leaders with either directly or indirectly being connected with criminal activities including involvement of Congress bigwigs in the drug racket. The issue of O Ibobi’s nephew O Henry’s alleged involvement in a drug case was repeatedly highlighted by BJP. The party promised to clean the border state of the drug menace, an issue of concern to the general public. Okram Henry was one of the five persons charge-sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)’s Kolkata unit in the case relating to the seizure of a huge consignment of drugs at the Imphal airport on January 11, 2013. Today, Ram Madhav is no longer a BJP National General Secretary in the recent organisational reshuffle. On the other hand, O Henry has been made a Minister after he ditched his uncle O Ibobi and Congress and saved the BJP government led by N Biren Singh in a recent confidence vote. He had joined BJP along with five other MLAs who resigned and left the Congress party.

The next gentleman in town is retired IAS officer and Congress candidate in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Inner Manipur constituency O Nabakishore who was welcomed with open arms to BJP in a glittering function. Does it have anything to do with the recent rehabilitation of his brother-in-law and former state BJP President Ksh Bhavananda in the newly constituted state Core Committee of BJP Manipur or not is for political pundits to analyse. What we are concerned here is that O Nabakishore is among the three retired IAS officers or former Chief Secretaries named in the infamous MDS scam, so loudly voiced by BJP in the 2017 assembly election campaign. However, it must be mentioned that O Nabakishore was removed from the post of Chief Secretary soon after the BJP led government came to power and transferred to the backwaters called State Academy of Training. The same MDS scam was again resurrected in the 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign after he was named the Congress candidate from Inner Manipur constituency. More recently on June 24 this year, he was summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in relation to the MDS case.

The agency had also questioned Congress leader and former Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh in Imphal for nearly three hours in the matter, just before O Nabakishore was summoned. The other two IAS officers named in the scam are DS Poonia and PC Lawmkunga, both former Chief Secretaries.

The next candidate is former Minister Ngamthang Haokip who recently resigned from Congress and the assembly. He is contesting as a BJP candidate from Saitu assembly constituency in the ensuing by-elections. Although he was elected as Congress MLA in the 2017 assembly elections he has been ‘secretly’ supporting the Biren Singh led government till the ultimate sacrifice of resignation.

However, we are at wit’s end as how not to remember the arms missing case in which his official residence was raided by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) in 2018. The missing arms case was unearthed in the early part of 2018 although the case dates back to 2014. The Manipur government had asked the NIA to probe the case in which 56 pistols disappeared from the police arms kote over a period of four years. The probe found that 56 auto 9 mm pistols along with 58 magazines were found missing between 2014 and 2018. Another Congress MLA Yamthong Haokip was arrested in the case, of course. But, Yamthong did not join BJP like Ngamthang Haokip. Strange bedfellows indeed for BJP.

First Published:Oct. 15, 2020, 8:03 a.m.

Leave a comment