Rahul Gandhi charms Ccpur crowds - No change in territorial integrity of NE: Gandhi
Cong knows public sentiments:Ibobi

Source: Hueiyen News Service / NNN

Imphal, April 02 2009: The fast growing young Congress leader, Rahul Gandhi has categorically stated that there will be no change in the territorial integrity of the North Eastern states including Manipur.

Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) made the statement today while addressing a public meeting held to kick off the election campaign for the Congress candidate of Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, Thangso Baite at the Tuibuong Peace Ground in the hill district of Churachandpur.

Rahul Gandhi arrived at Churachandpur around 12.45 pm by a helicopter from Mizoram and stayed at the Peace Ground for about 30 minutes.

Chief Minister O Ibobi, North East In-Charge (Manipur), Ved Prakash, MP Dr T Meinya, president of MPCC Gaikhangam, other cabinet ministers, Congress MLAs, party leaders and functionaries welcomed Rahul Gandhi.

About 5,000 people from different parts of Churachandpur district and elsewhere attended today's meeting.

With election campaigns reaching feverish high in the state, Rahul Gandhi, making his maiden visit to the state also called upon the people to vote for and support the Congress led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) at the Centre which has, for the last five years, been working for peace and development of the people of India.

Addressing the gathering, Gandhi said that the Congress was a "government of the poor and the common man" and that it was the aim of the party to move every individual ahead in their lives.

Highlighting further on the achievements of the Congress led UPA government, the young Congress leader asserted that under various schemes such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), 100 days of work was guaranteed to every unemployed person in the country and through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, every Indian has the right to keep an eye on what the government is doing for him or her.

He also informed that steps were being taken to help the farmers of the country.

Referring to Manipur, Gandhi said that though the state was physically small, it was of the same value with all other states of the country, and that the Congress values the culture of the state.

The central government has also provided the state with a Central University, he reminded and added that the state was now fighting against HIV/AIDS in which the Centre was helping.

Calling upon the people to work together, the General Secretary of the AICC said, "together we can build a better future" and urged the people to vote for Congress in both the Outer and the Inner constituencies of the state.

"For peace and development in the state, support the Congress," he appealed.

Addressing the public meeting State Chief Minister O Ibobi said that there is no question of disintegration of Manipur's territory and the opposition parties in the state are shouting about integrity because they have no other work.

The Chief Minister asserted that there was no question of disintegration of Manipur's territory.

Recalling the beginning of the formation of Manipur state under Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India in 1971 along with the states of Meghalaya and Tripura, Chief Minister Ibobi said that since its formation, Manipur has had its own territory.

"So, where is the question of disintegration," he asked.

Referring to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, Ibobi pooh-poohed the promises of the Bharatya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Manipur People's Party (MPP) that they would remove it from the state and affirmed that they were all false election propaganda.

Reacting to the slogans of the opposition, the Chief Minister asserted that only the Congress knows the sentiments of the people, and hence had removed AFSPA from seven constituencies of the state.

He also further reminded the people that it was the Congress who gave back the Kangla Fort to the people of Manipur from the possession of the Assam Rifles.

The MU has been centralised, the railway line from Jiribam to Tupul is progressing.

He said that talks are going on with the militant groups of the hills.

The government is trying to have talks with the valley underground groups as well.

The SPF government is strictly following the belief of Rajiv Gandhi that development first and law and order next.

MPCC president Gaikhaingam also spoke at the meeting.

People from different parts of Churachandpur and nearby Moirang started gathering at the Tuibong Peace Ground from 8 O'clock in the morning.

They waited for Rahul Gandhi for nearly four hours.

Later when some sections of the crowds started leaving the ground, the helicopter carrying Rahul Gandhi flew towards the ground.

As the frazzled crowds saw the helicopter, they raised their hands up and shouted, "Long Live Rahul Gandhi".