The economic blockade in Manipur is "a gameplan of Congress" which is not sincere in solving the issue with the chief minister confining to barracks central forces at its disposal to ensure safety of highways, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Saturday.
Refuting the Congress allegation that the BJP was hand in gloves with the groups who have called the blockade, Javadekar said the economic blockade was a "gameplan of the Congress".
"The Manipur Chief Minister and the Congress regime know very well that they would lose the polls and that is why they have resorted to the blockade. The gameplan of the Congress is money through power and power through money," Javadekar, who is also BJP's in-charge of Manipur, said.
The HRD Minister claimed in an interview that in the last two years there was no blockade and that the prices of LPG and other essentials had come down considerably.
"So there was support in favour of the BJP and that is why the Congress resorted to an indefinite economic blockade. This blockade is by Congress regime, of the Congress regime and for the Congress regime," Javadekar said.
The HRD minister said that the central government had provided 175 companies of central para-military forces to the state, but the chief minister was not using them and kept them in the barracks.
"The central government had provided these forces which are waiting for the orders of the chief minister to control the situation, but he is not giving them any orders. He has ordered them to stay in the barracks," he said.
"You need to deploy just 2,000 central force personnel on the highways to ensure the safety and security of the goods vehicle. But he is not allowing the forces to work. This is the first proof that Congress is not interested in lifting the blockade", he charged.
The United Naga Council has imposed an indefinite economic blockade since November 1, 2016 to protest against the state government's decision to create seven new districts in the landlocked state by bifurcating the existing ones.
The state government has said that the decision has been taken to improve administrative efficiency.
The supply of essential commodities, including fuel, to Manipur has been severely hit since November last year after the council declared indefinite economic blockade on NH2 (via Dimapur) and NH 37 (via Jiribam) – the two lifelines to the state.
The minister expressed the Centre's inability to intervene, citing as reason the absence of President's Rule in the state.
"The Centre is airlifting essentials and fuels for the people of the state. The central government can't intervene as the state is not under President's Rule," Javadekar said.
Exuding confidence that BJP would win at least 45 seats in the 60-seat Assembly, Javadekar alleged that the state government played a part in various scams that took place in the state.
"Be it recruitment in police or other services, we have seen how money was taken from aspirants with promises of recruitment. The state has looted the people left, right and centre. Now through this economic blockade, he is following the policy of divide and rule in the state by separating hills from the valley," he said.
Almost 65 per cent of Manipur's population lives in the Imphal Valley dominated by Meiteis. Two tribal groups, Naga and Kuki-Zomi, account for the remaining 35 per cent of the population scattered across Manipur's hills that make up 90 per cent of the state's geographical area.
The plains have 40 of the 60 seats in the state assembly.
Javadekar also targetted the government with the allegations of extra-judicial killings in Manipur.
"We have to find out under whose orders these extra-judicial killings and fake encounters took place. Who gave those orders, it needs to be inquired," he said.