BJP, Congress lock horns after Bishnupur cops halt Rahul Gandhi’s convoy

Congress senior leader Rahul Gandhi, faced a significant obstacle during his visit to Manipur on Thursday as he sought to assess the ongoing conflict in the region. To his surprise and frustration, Gandhi was abruptly prevented from entering the Churachandpur district by road. Manipur authorities, citing safety concerns, informed his convoy that it would not be safe to continue traveling by road near the town of Bishnupur, which lay roughly 20 kilometers away from their intended destination. Consequently, the scion of the Gandhi dynasty had no choice but to retrace his steps and return to Imphal International Airport, where he boarded a helicopter to reach his planned location.

Attempting to shed light on the reason behind their decision, Heisnam Balram Singh, the Superintendent of Police in Bishnupur, emphasized the prevailing ground situation. Singh asserted, “Given the volatile circumstances on the ground, we made the judgment call to halt Rahul Gandhi’s progress and strongly advised him to proceed to Churachandpur via helicopter. There exists a real and credible threat of a grenade attack along the very highway that Mr. Gandhi would have traversed. Our primary responsibility is to prioritize his security and well-being, and thus we could not allow him to continue the journey by road.”

However, the Congress party promptly responded, accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of capitalizing on the situation for political gain. Keisham Meghachandra, the President of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee, vehemently claimed that the Bishnupur Superintendent of Police, as well as other police officials such as the ASP and ADM, deliberately obstructed the roads despite the local populace eagerly awaiting Rahul Gandhi’s arrival. Meghachandra further alleged that instructions were issued by the Chief Minister of Manipur himself, implying a politically motivated interference. He voiced his concerns, stating, “This incident is being grossly politicized. These authorities, by citing alleged law and order concerns, are intentionally impeding our progress and preventing the warm welcome that awaits Rahul Gandhi.”

In response to the claims made by the Bishnupur Police, Okram Ibobi Singh, the Congress Legislature Party leader and an experienced five-time chief minister, directly confronted the authorities. Singh refuted their assertions regarding the available modes of transportation, insisting, “At the airport, we were presented with only two options: to travel by air or to travel by road. Had the authorities explicitly advised us to use the helicopter or explicitly prohibited us from traveling by road right from the airport, we would not have encountered this predicament.”

The incident has ignited a fresh wave of political controversy, with accusations and counter-accusations dominating the narrative. As both sides offer conflicting explanations and engage in a public confrontation, the incident raises questions about the role of security concerns versus political motivations, further fueling the already charged atmosphere surrounding Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Manipur.