Open Letter to MPCC President Govindas Konthoujam

Dear Bashanta,

I have seen and gone through your open letter to the Hon’ble President, Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), Shri. Govindas Konthoujam, circulated in various Social Media. At first, I was not at all willing to respond to it as the queries by the Hon’ble President of MPCC were directed to the state government headed by Shri N. Biren Singh from whom there is unfortunately no response nor have any clue to response till today. Not surprisingly, some response comes from few paid women folks, the BJP and other people like you although the queries could only be answered by the state government. It is presumed that the ruling BJP government is not privy to all the records of various decisions in responding the Hon’ble President of MPCC.

I am baffled to think why you would feel that the Hon’ble President of MPCC is a defeatist when the entire state and the people he represent knows who Hon’ble President was, is and will. The fact is simple. The Hon’ble President is rather purely concerned and worried about the fate of the state and the country due to the bungling administrative policies of the BJP government in the fight against COVID-19 Pandemic. His point of contention fairly is to come out with facts and figures supported by impartial analysis if the whole nation and the state have to fight this pandemic. And, he expect that while fighting such pandemic there must be no room for inept decisions based on one’s shallow and fallacious beliefs but on scientific analysis, findings and reasoning.

It is also fair enough to say that the service to the state and his constituency in particular by the Hon’ble President of MPCC is the testimony of efficacious electoral politics in representing his constituency for the last seven terms. People have believed in him and his dynamic leadership and capabilities and, have supported him through thick and thin. Unlike some parochial politicians, the Hon’ble President of MPCC has earned love, trust and support through his service, commitment and dedication for the people. The contrasting claims you’ve made without understanding an iota of his character and personality, and terming him as a defeatist and hopeless is therefore but a sign of your inability to truly understand people because of your narrow and selfish motives.

Your long lines on the economy of the state and the country are truly indicative of your lack of knowledge and understanding of the same. Although the Hon’ble President of MPCC isn’t an economist by profession, Indian National Congress in the state and the centre has enormous field experts, not only on economy, but also on various fields who can read and scientifically interpret what is happening in our country and our state. In fact, having had the opportunity to serve the state as a minister, I do sure that the Hon’ble President of MPCC have over the years acquired ample knowledge and understanding of public finance to be able to read what is happening around and in the state. Now, Mr. Bashanta, if I may put a few questions on your claims: Is the economic stimulus of $22.58 billion only on paper or are there sufficient resources to back it up, and doesn’t the said economic package include large part of existing schemes which was refurbished under the package? What is the growth in real term of your claim of estimated 9.6% growth in the GDP during 2021-22 when the economy in the previous year has severely contracted thereby lowering the base? What is the likely growth in the economy during 2021-22 vis-a-vis that of 2019-20? Maximum 1-3% and not more: nothing about it! If there was no demonetization, I am sure the growth of economy would have been in double digits during the last few years, but, unfortunately, the informal sector have been crushed by it, and that is yet to recover from it which is now rather worsening further by this pandemic. You also not surprise to see the survival of the informal sector is now unpredictable though in terms of employment it is higher than the formal sector. The gap between the rich and the poor has considerably increased during the last seven years, and people like Adani have become the second richest person in Asia. Would not it qualify that BJP government at the centre is run by “HUMDO HAUMRA DO”? Does this government of yours ever think of the miserable situation of the poor migrant workers when lockdown was imposed last year with within short notice leading to extreme hardships and loss of life to many?

Mr. Shri Bashanta, would you not agree that the tendency to blame the previous government has become the new daily routine of yours, and the inability to retrospect and introspect has never been the hallmark of your Jhumla party. The Onemanship and showmanship with mischievous media manipulation have been the strategy of your party and mishandling the central agencies against your opponents have become the normal norms. The tendency to call criticism of the government as anti-national is nothing but a dangerous portent of dictatorship in the future. Isn’t this proves ‘there is no Rule of Law in the state but Rule of Man, one man”? The tall claimed “party with a difference” is nothing but a mere and empty slogan that is only attempting to march towards autocracy. Many of the points mentioned which you perceived are very important are nothing but propagandas vainly mouthed by the followers of Modiji who was claimed to have 54 inches chest but when the crux comes, it was not even 40 inches, do not deserve a reply!

May I remind you once again that you are seemingly not aware that during the lockdown the State had hiked VAT on petrol and diesel. Due to the rise in crude prices in the international marker to stabilize the price on petrol and diesel, on the instruction of the centre, the State on October 2018 reduced VAT on petrol and diesel and the reduced CAT was restored on October 22, 2019 which are 25% for petrol and 14.5% for diesel. On the Assembly starred question, it was clarified by the Government that on May 06, 2020, which is during the lockdown, VAT was increased on petrol to 36.5% and on diesel to 22.5% making Manipur as one of the States which levies the highest VAT among all the other states. Now, when the international crude price is at $75 per barrel, the price for petrol had crossed Rs. 100/- per litre, a record of sorts. The State Government could have reduced the VAT so that the prices of diesel and petrol are affordable to the public and the distortion to the economy is minimized. The collection on VAT would not be impacted too much as the base price is high and the Government ought to have borne the burden along with the public. It was also admitted by the Government on the floor of the house that mandatory 14 days’ notice the intent of modifying the VAT rates were not given. In other words, even the law passed by the State Legislature was violated by the BJP led Government in the state showing the scant respect for the law of the land. May you recalled that during the UPA regime, despite the fact that international crude prices was at $125 per barrel, the price of petrol never bent beyond Rs. 75 per litre which stabilises the economy as large portion of the economy is driven by the fuels. Economy cannot be seen in isolation but has to have a holistic view while dealing a situation like this, pandemic. Why is the government so shy of bringing out a white paper on the amount received from the centre and PM Care for the fight against COVID-19? So is the case of the donations made to the CM Relief Fund towards this end. May I again remind you, Mr. Bashanta that people have generously come forward to contribute towards this end and, they should feel that the money they have contributed was well spent? Due to such arrogance and carelessness of your government when request were made during the second wave, the response was lukewarm.

The free rice given by the centre during the pandemic is for the poor and why should the state make the poor share with the rich? Those who can afford must continue to look after themselves and the responsibility of the government should be toward the poor as many would have starve without the support. However, just because some help is provided to the poor doesn’t guaranteed the government to rebuke them for being poor, and use those innocent people against your opponent just to gain cheap political mileage? Shame..!

Further, when experts were warning that the second wave is coming for sure, the state and the centre, believing that the pandemic had been beaten, did precious nothing to ramp up the logistics requirement for the second wave and therefore when it struck, there was nothing, nothing to meet the challenges. The hasty-nasty fire-fighting carried out by your party just could not save lives; many died due to the shortage of oxygen and inadequate medical facilities. Arrogance and misreading of the second wave by your leaders had led to the loss of thousands of lives. Till April 17, the total death was only 376 but from 18 April to 19 June, it is already 671 as reported by the concern authority of the government.

I may also remind you to remember who was the party president caught red-handed accepting bribes from the people? Your allegations are like the pot calling the kettle black.

Now, Mr. Bashanta, I do hope that rather than the party president or some paid chamchas, the Government clarifies on the issues that the Hon’ble President of MPCC has raised. Perhaps, as the BJP had come to power in Manipur recently, the relation between the party in power and the government is not properly understood. We are not like China where the party is supreme. I do hope that these humble thoughts and notes of a concern citizen like me may find ways and reach you in good health.


Jangminthang Kipgen
Secretary (Admin), Sadar Hills Youth Congress