Reconcilation, and not confrontation–need of the hour
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Seram Mangi Singh *

Imphal, May 29 2010: Economic blockade imposed by some hill based organisations of Manipur in protest against holding of Elections to the Autonomous Hill District Councils followed by unrest over the entry of NSCN(IM) supremo Th.Muivah into Manipur has resulted in untold sufferings to the people of both the Hills and Plain of Manipur.

Besides causalities including the loss of lives of two youth at Mao gate, prices of essential commodities in state have been hiking like anything.

Forget about price, unavailability of essential items like petroleum product has dislocated the life of the Manipuri people.

Blockade, Counter-blockade, rallies, in support of this thing or against that thing has become a phenomenon of life in Manipur.

Thank God, no communal tension or incident of communal nature is not witnessed.

People love peace, harmony, welfare, and speedy development.

However incidents of blockade, counter blockade, price rise, killings, kidnapping etc.

have become parts of the reality of life.

Any group of people or individual may have likes and dislikes and aspirations and demands.

All these have to be settled through peaceful means and not through confrontations.

Political Leaders including those in the ruling party use to say very frequently and on various occasions that there is no problem which cannot be settled through dialogue.

Unfortunately, there has been, of late, a difference between the Chief Minister O.Ibobi and the Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Y.Irabot Singh during the days when both the government and the people of Manipur are facing an abnormal situation.

What is the issue? The issue is not an issue as such.

It cannot be considered as political, administrative or social.

It is a matter of fixing the proper date and time of bringing in essential commodities from Jiribam or Silchar to Imphal.

While the Government decided to bring in essential commodities, it was waiting for the convenient time.

On the other hand, the Consumer Affairs Minister Y.Irabot was impatient to wait.

He rushed to Jiribam to collect the essential items without informing the Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister has to be informed of tour of his cabinet colleagues.

The reasons are that security and other arrangement are to be made.

The Chief Minister may require the services of the particular Minister at the Head Quarter anytime.

Mr..YIrabot ventured to Jiribam to bring the essential commodities at any cost and under any circumstances and he openly criticised the Chief Minister through media.

Of course Irabot's action served the purpose for which he ventured.

Now the question is where the collective responsibility of the cabinet is.

How the Captain of the Ship (the Chief Minister) is sailing his Ship.

Why is he not able to convince his cabinet colleague? How long and on how many occasions such things will be allowed to happen (not only Irabot's case it may be in the case of any cabinet minister or bureaucrats).

The principle of collective responsibility implies that the decisions arrived at by the cabinet are the decisions of the entire body of ministers, and individual member cannot express his dissent for its publicly.

This also implies that the government is carried on with the collective responsibility and the ministers stand or fall together.

The rule ensures that the council of minister works as a team and it is obvious that a government which does not work as a team cannot carry on for long.

The principle of collective responsibility implies that the policies and programs of the ministry have to be supported by each individual minister whatever might be his individual preferences or predilections.

Once a decision is taken, it is the duty of each minister to support it inside and outside the Assembly.

In the words of the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru "A Government after Parliament model is one united whole.

It has joint responsibility.

Each member of the Government has to support the others so long as he remains in the government.

The Prime Minister has to support his ministers and his ministers have to support each other and the Prime Minister.

It is quite absurd for any minister to oppose or even to give impression of opposing a colleague of his.

Opinions may be freely expressed within the cabinet.

Outside, the government should have only one opinion.

There is no question of a member of the government being neutral." (This holds good in the case of the state cabinet too) .

It is quite unfortunate that there appears to be a difference or misunderstanding between Mr..OIbobi Singh, Chief Minister of the Congress led SPF government and Mr..YIrabot Singh, a senior congress leader.

Both of them need introspection.

The general public particularly the elite ones want understanding and reconciliation amongst elected representatives for a smooth sailing of the governance.

The SPF Govt.has archived a lot of things in the last 6 years.

However, there is no room for complacency.

Please move forward united.

Don't leave a bad precedent.

The need of the hour is reconciliation, and not confrontation.

[* The author is a retired officer of IIS] .