BJP’s ‘Nari Shakti’ a ‘Tokenism’ says enraged Manipuri women

Kaybie Chongloi

Manipur BJP’s N.Biren Singh-led Government cabinet reshuffle invited strong disappointment and condemnation from the women community as the lone woman Minister Nemcha Kipgen among five other Ministers was dropped from the council of Ministers.

 

Strongly decrying and condemning CM Singh for dropping Social Welfare and Cooperation Minister Nemcha Kipgen from the BJP-led coalition Government in Manipur, the All Manipur Nupi Marup (AMNM) said that at a time when various political parties are raising their voice for increasing women lawmakers in a bid to reduce various crimes and atrocities against women, such move from the state government was unexpected and it is a show of disrespect on women empowerment.

 

Sumatibala, Secretary, AMNM stated despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi claiming that his government is making effort to empower women, his government is yet to enact any law to implement the protracted demand for 33 per cent woman reservation of seats in the Parliament and State Assemblies.

 

The women’s bodies also demanded re-instating Nemcha Kipgen in the ministerial berth.

 

Condemning and raising concern over the removal of Nemcha Kipgen from the council of Ministers, the Thadou Inpi General Headquarters, the apex body of the Thadou community, the second largest community in the state said that dropping the lone woman minister is unexpected and defeats women empowerment which leaves the people of her Constituency in particular and the women community of Manipur in general flabbergasted.

 

It then stated that it is the onus of the Government to rectify and re-instate the lone woman MLA who has brought lots of development to the district in particular and the State as a whole while adding that the necessity of one Minister from the three ACs of Kangpokpi district is felt by one and all and urged timely redressal.

 

The women community on Friday from the lone woman minister constituency Kangpokpi hundreds of enraged women across the assembly constituency congregated at Nute Kailhang in the District Headquarters of Kangpokpi and burnt down CM Singh’s effigy as a mark of demonstrating their discontentment and condemning the removal of Nemcha Kipgen from the state cabinet while terming it as ‘annihilating women empowerment and opportunity’ in Manipur during a sit-in protest.

 

The protesting women also hold placards which read, “BJP’s spirit of ‘Nari Shakti’ in Manipur is mere tokenism and gimmickry”, “No more woman minister in Manipur Legislative Assembly, is this the BJP’s true face of women empowerment?”, “We strongly condemn dropping of the lone woman minister from the council of ministers”, “N. Biren Singh ripped the blooming lotus in Kangpokpi AC”, “Where have the much hyped BJP’s women’s empowerment gone?”, “Biren led BJP Govt. kills women’s reservation in Manipur, annihilates women opportunities”, “Social Welfare & Co-op. Dept. in the state is back to life because of Pi Nemcha Kipgen”, “Modi’s Acche Din is gone in Manipur”, etc.

The sit-in protest was also participated by various women organizations of the district and Kpi AC including Kuki Women Union (KWU) Sadar Hills and Kangpokpi Women Welfare Organization (KWWO) apart from various villages chief, TSA Sadar Hills, Kangpokpi Town Committee, Kangpokpi Youth Union, etc. who considered the new cabinet an anti-rural development.

 

Speaking to media persons, Hethem Kipgen, Secretary KWU Sadar Hills said that Modi and the BJP have always been a vocal proponent of women empowerment and an outspoken votary of giving women their due in the legislature but N. Biren Singh in Manipur has shown the true face of BJP’s women empowerment by dropping the lone woman minister from his council of ministers while adding that the women of Kangpokpi AC are shocked and extremely discontented over the dropping of Nemcha Kipgen from the council of Ministers.

 

She said that during the Ibobi Singh led Congress Government, the lone woman Minister Mirabai was never dropped from the council of Ministers and always hold the position without any dispute but the BJP who had made a tall promise of empowering women idiotically remove its lone woman Minister from the state cabinet while demanding for the re-instate of Nemcha Kipgen in her position.

 

If the BJP is truly committed to 33% reservation in Parliament and state assemblies why its lone woman minister in Manipur was dropped from the Council of Ministers instead of passing the Women Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha? Where has the party’s commitment to ensure better representation of women in positions of power gone? Where the BJP’s dream of New India to enable women with opportunities to express their innate leadership qualities has gone? she questioned.

 

Slamming the BJP’s promise of empowering women, Hethem Kipgen said that despite the BJP in its manifesto for Lok Sabha Election 2019 stressed upon the spirit of ‘Nari Shakti’ (women empowerment) to achieve its goal of a developed India, the ‘Nari Shakti’ remains a mere ‘Tokenism and Gimmickry’ in the state of Manipur.

 

She continued that the BJP much hyped of championing the political empowerment of women in governance or within the party organization itself and also its commitment to 33% reservation in Parliament and state assemblies is a complete mockery.

 

Whether the cabinet reshuffle was a desired of the national leaders as a routine matter or being part of the party’s policy, they can let its lone woman minister continue her office if it truly is committed to women empowerment, she added and wonder when the BJP cannot empower its own woman minister how would it be possible to empower million of Indian women?

 

She further said that dropping Nemcha Kipgen from the Council of Ministers despite being the lone woman minister is not only subjugating the women community of the state but ‘underrating and undervaluing’ the women of her constituency which cannot be considered softly.

 

We want Chief Minister N. Biren Singh to rectify and restore the BJP’s commitment of empowering women by re-instating Nemcha Kipgen in her position, said Hethem Kipgen while adding that our further course of action will be solely decided by his decision from today.

 

Meanwhile, Hekim Hangshing, President, Kangpokpi Women Welfare Organization said that the BJP’s N.Biren Singh-led Government has hurt the sentiment of the women community by removing Kipgen from the council of Ministers.

 

She asserted that the Social Welfare and Cooperation Department which was once similar to the defunct department has been revived and bring back to life by the lone woman Minister with much efforts and struggles benefiting women, children, old age, differently able persons and many other deprive people in the state.

 

With regards to development in Kangpokpi district, the women president also said that many developmental works in the various sector had been implemented in the district and many more are in the pipeline under her ministership while adding that being a woman she has the excellent management abilities, communication skills, ability to multitask, caring and understanding and she is also instrumental in prevailing peace and harmony among all communities.

 

She also recalled the immense contribution and vital role she played in the fight against the pandemic COVID-19 as a Minister-in-charge for COVID-19 in Kangpokpi and Senapati District to save and protect a thousand lives from the dreaded virus outshine all her male counterpart with her commitment and determination.

 

“What makes the BJP’s Biren Singh-led Government drop her from the council of Ministers is a matter of shock to every woman of the state,” said Hekim Hangshing while demanding to reinstate her in her position considering the women reservation policy apart from her commitment, capability and determination.

 

KWWO President also thanked and appreciated All Manipur Nupi Marup for their like-mindedness and intellectual way of thinking in the larger interest of the women community in the state stating that such women’s body is instrumental in bringing peace and harmony among the diverse community in the state.

 

Thadou Student’s Association Sadar Hills also questioned the creditability of the new seat allotment after the cabinet reshuffle stating that as per the seat allotment there have to be at least four Ministers from the hills district but now the BJP’s Biren Singh-led Government is surfacing like a communal Government.

 

KTC Chairman Lunseh Kipgen and many other leaders also spoke on the sideline of the protest.