The political landscape in Manipur has become a battleground of verbal confrontations, with the BJP taking a stand against atrocities on women in West Bengal and Rajasthan. This move has been met with accusations from the opposition, claiming it to be a diversionary tactic to evade discussions about the pressing issues in the north-eastern state. In the midst of demands for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the Manipur situation within Parliament, followed by an unhindered debate, the government alleges that the opposition is avoiding such discussions by imposing conditions and demonstrating a lack of seriousness. The BJP points out the silence of the opposition on crimes against women in non-BJP ruled states like Rajasthan, West Bengal, and Bihar.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur, in a press conference at the BJP headquarters, revealed alarming statistics. Rajasthan, in the last four years, has recorded over one lakh cases of crimes against women, including 33,000 cases of sexual assault on women. These figures raise serious concerns about the safety and security of women in the state. In an attempt to spotlight the gravity of the issue, the ruling party highlighted a distressing incident in West Bengal’s Malda district. A video showed two tribal women being brutally beaten and stripped, raising questions about the state’s governance and the opposition’s reaction to such atrocities.
The opposition, particularly the Congress, swiftly retaliated, accusing the BJP of engaging in “whataboutery” and shying away from parliamentary discussions. Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh stated on Twitter that the BJP was trying to divert attention by drawing a false equivalence with an issue related to Rajasthan. The Congress also posted a “Failed report card” of Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, leading to a heated exchange between the two parties.
As the political sparring continued, Congress’ Pawan Khera accused Smriti Irani of using her gender as a shield when confronted about her ministerial failures. TMC’s Mahua Moitra dismissed the BJP’s tactics, asserting that real depravity lies in deflecting the Manipur issue by spreading fake news about other states. Congress leader Ranjeet Ranjan further criticized Smriti Irani, labeling the government as “afraid of the opposition” and behaving like fugitives. The opposition demanded a debate on Manipur, urging Prime Minister Modi to choose between Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha for the discussion. However, the BJP argued that the opposition has been reluctant to address the issue on the Parliament floor.
While the verbal battle rages on, some leaders, like RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha, suggest a course correction by removing the Manipur Chief Minister and imposing President’s rule for a limited period. This, they believe, would pave the way for social and psychological healing in Manipur, a state in dire need of stability. The war of words over Manipur intensifies, with both the BJP and the opposition trading accusations and counter-accusations. As the political turmoil continues, the demand for debate and action remains crucial to address the pressing issues in the north-eastern state. Only through a sincere and informed discussion can a path toward healing and stability be forged.