PM Modi’s absence in Mizoram: A political turning point
October 30, 2023, will be remembered as a historic day for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It marked a significant departure from the norm as PM Modi refrained from campaigning in Mizoram, becoming the only state election since 2014 where he did not actively participate.
Initially, the BJP had announced that PM Modi was scheduled to visit Mizoram’s Mamit district in the northeastern region. His mission was to rally support from non-Mizo residents across three pivotal assembly constituencies: Mamit, Dampa, and Hachhek. However, a last-minute change in plans has fueled allegations from the Congress party that his absence is connected to the ongoing issues in neighboring Manipur, which has been grappling with violence for almost half a year.
The state of Manipur remains far from normalcy, with tensions lingering since violence erupted on May 3, 2023, involving clashes between the Meiteis and Kukis. This situation has drawn criticism from various quarters, raising concerns about the Modi government’s handling of the crisis.
Furthermore, PM Modi’s decision to avoid Mizoram coincides with the recent announcement by Mizoram Chief Minister Zoramthanga that he will not share a stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the upcoming campaign for the state’s assembly elections.
CM Zoramthanga has been vocal about his disappointment with the central government’s handling of the Manipur issue. The ethnic ties between Mizoram and Myanmar, as well as accusations of illegal immigrants from Myanmar, have been sources of contention in the region.
Despite PM Modi’s absence, the BJP has indicated that Home Minister Amit Shah would visit Mizoram. However, as reported by The Wire, the state’s BJP unit remains uncertain about when Shah’s visit will take place.
Gadkari announces Rs 20,000 Cr road project in Mizoram; says road will connect to Nagaland, Manipur and Myanmar
However, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari, was present in Mizoram’s West Phaileng, within the Dampa Constituency. He announced the commencement of a 20,000 crore rupees road construction project set to kick off in 2024. This project will connect nine districts of Mizoram, fostering enhanced connectivity and development. Notably, the road will also serve as a vital link to Manipur, Nagaland, and extend into Myanmar, connecting international boundaries.
Minister Gadkari stressed the pivotal role of infrastructure in development, emphasizing that progress is unattainable without it. He highlighted the achievements of the NDA Government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which boasts seven world records in road construction.
Gadkari said the ongoing construction of the 373-kilometer Aizawl-Tuipang road, connecting six Mizoram districts at a cost of 7,361 crore rupees, is expected to conclude by 2024. Additional projects in the pipeline include the Aizawl bypass road, a 2.5-kilometer tunnel, and a 34-kilometer road, with a budget of 2,500 crore rupees, projected for completion by 2025. These initiatives aim to alleviate traffic congestion in the state capital. Furthermore, the Kaladan Multi Modal Transit Transport Project, with a cost of 1,132 crore rupees, is slated for completion by November 2023, facilitating connectivity to the Sittwe port in Myanmar, he said.
Minister Gadkari expressed his vision to create opportunities for the underprivileged and farmers. He pledged the BJP’s commitment to economic transformation in the Northeast and vowed to elevate Mizoram’s infrastructure to international standards. Addressing land-related issues, he stated that the BJP, if voted into power, would seek to resolve them. Gadkari emphasized that the BJP is dedicated to the development of all citizens and aims to provide livelihood opportunities through the LOTUS (Livelihood, Opportunity, Transformation, and Upliftment Scheme).