Imphal: Fury against senior Congress leader and former union minister Jairam Ramesh for his alleged derogatory comment towards the people of Manipur. Recently attacking the BJP government in Manipur, Jairam said that Urea given to the State were diverted to 'Poppy' cultivation. Reacting strongly to his comment, the student body of Manipur Thadou Students' Association (TSA) condemned the remarks and demanded a public apology from the senior Congress leader.
Jairam Ramesh was recently in Manipur to review the Congress party's election preparations in the State. Attacking the ruling Party, Ramesh tweeted that, "BJP's 'Vikas' in Manipur is getting TWICE the supply of Urea it needs and yet farmers complain of shortage! Why? Because Urea has been diverted to hill areas in Manipur, where poppy is being grown for opium in large areas in the last 4 years. The State Govt is fully complicit in this."
TSA opposed the derogatory statement by the Congress leader, and in a statement the student body TSA said it was really unfortunate that a National leader of a National party like Congress would make such a statement which has hurt the sentiment of the hill people by accusing and implicating them as 'Poppy Cultivators'.
The student association added that the Poppy cultivation in the State had started during the early 2000s when the Congress-led SPF Government was in power, and the Congress government then didn't take any steps to control poppy cultivation and anti-social activity until Chief Minister N Biren launched 'War on Drugs' in 2018.
The statement also added that Poppy and Paddy cultivation season does not coincide, and Urea cannot be stored for a long time.
In addition to this, Urea is distributed through concerned DCs and agriculture offices only. Hence, there is no question of diverting the fertiliser to the hills or other areas in poppy cultivation.
Meanwhile, BJP spokesperson M Kikon said that "Congress should send experienced organisational leaders and not amateurs for election work. Former minister makes an irresponsible statement and hurts the sentiments of the hill people in Manipur. This should show how deep his foot has gone in his mouth."