PM Modi’s Limited Address on Manipur Triggers Opposition Walkout During Parliament Speech
In a recent session of the Indian Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s conspicuous brevity in addressing the prolonged turmoil in Manipur left opposition leaders fuming, culminating in a dramatic walkout. The opposition had fervently implored the Prime Minister to focus his speech on the three-month-long unrest in Manipur, but their plea seemingly fell on deaf ears. During his extensive 2-hour and 20-minute address, PM Modi devoted a mere fraction, less than 10 minutes, to discussing Manipur, much to the dissatisfaction of his critics.
The context unfolded during a no-confidence motion that was tabled against the government. On August 10, PM Modi, who had maintained a conspicuous silence regarding the ongoing turmoil in Manipur, finally touched upon the matter as he responded to the motion. However, his discourse on the topic was remarkably succinct. Amidst his lengthy monologue, the Prime Minister addressed the violence-stricken Manipur for a mere 10 minutes, emphasizing his government’s commitment to restoring peace in the region.
The remaining duration of PM Modi’s speech was dedicated to an animated attack on various subjects, including the Congress party, the previous UPA governments, the opposition alliance, and the developmental efforts in the Northeast region during his nine years in power. This pivot away from the pressing issue of Manipur left the opposition dismayed, given their expectation that the no-confidence motion would compel the Prime Minister to squarely confront the Manipur situation on the parliamentary floor.
As PM Modi continued to speak, tensions escalated, leading to a climactic moment when opposition leaders staged a walkout after enduring 1 hour and 40 minutes of his speech without any mention of Manipur. This walkout was a powerful display of their frustration and dissatisfaction with the Prime Minister’s apparent evasion of the subject at hand.
Amidst this heated atmosphere, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, faced suspension for alleged misconduct. The overall outcome of the no-confidence motion debate was a voice vote that resulted in its defeat, owing to the absence of opposition Members of Parliament in the House.
Prime Minister Modi’s relatively short discourse on Manipur, encapsulating the broader sentiment that dominated his speech, began around 5 pm. However, it wasn’t until 6:42 pm, when opposition MPs began exiting the House, that he finally broached the topic. In his address, he acknowledged the sequence of events in Manipur that had precipitated violence, expressing his condemnation of the crimes against women and the loss of lives. He underscored that both the central and state governments were diligently striving to bring the culprits to justice and restore peace.
PM Modi directed his message of resilience to the people of Manipur, assuring them that the entire nation and the parliamentary body stood united with them. His speech conveyed a resolute commitment to addressing the challenges and reinstating peace in the region, coupled with a promise of ushering Manipur into a future marked by self-confidence and development.
However, even within this ostensibly conciliatory section of his speech, PM Modi managed to intertwine a jab at the opposition. He criticized their unwillingness to engage constructively and bemoaned their lack of courage to participate in meaningful discussions. He alluded to Home Minister Amit Shah’s comprehensive statement on Manipur and asserted that it was devoid of political undertones, aimed solely at addressing the concerns of the citizens and the government and fostering a climate of peace.
In a nuanced maneuver, PM Modi underscored the roots of Manipur’s problems, attributing them to historical decisions made by the Congress party. He highlighted that these challenges were not recent developments but rather a culmination of long-standing political dynamics. Modi asserted that it was the Congress’s politics, rather than the people of the Northeast, that had contributed to the prevailing situation.
Amidst these rhetorical volleys, PM Modi revealed a deeper sentiment – his unwavering dedication to the Northeast region. He proudly emphasized his frequent visits to the region (50 in total), highlighting that this wasn’t a mere statistical figure but a testament to his genuine commitment to the region’s welfare. He also recounted historical instances where certain actions, under Congress governments, had hindered the region’s progress, echoing his belief that the Congress party had often failed to connect with the emotions of the Northeastern populace.
As his speech progressed, the Prime Minister’s frustration with the opposition’s behaviour grew increasingly evident. He accused them of practicing “selective” outrage and criticized their seeming inability to engage in a meaningful democratic dialogue. With a mix of exasperation and cynicism, PM Modi expressed his disillusionment with the opposition’s approach, labelling their behaviour as antithetical to democratic values.
In a final volley of retorts, PM Modi responded to Rahul Gandhi’s recent statement, in which Gandhi had accused Modi of “murdering Bharat Mata in Manipur.” Modi vehemently rejected these allegations, asserting that such rhetoric had deeply hurt every Indian. He challenged the use of inflammatory language and questioned its appropriateness, particularly considering the historical significance of August 14 – a reference to India’s partition.
In a parting shot, PM Modi invoked the legacy of India’s independence struggle, reminding the nation of the painful memories associated with the division of the country. He alluded to the Congress party’s historical role in this division, seemingly casting doubt on their commitment to India’s unity.