Imphal Review of Arts and Politics

Villagers wearing BJP scarves at the Go to Village mission held at Salam Thongkhong, Imphal West

Manipur Government’s “Go to Village” is More Like a Political Campaign Event of Ruling BJP Ahead of Election

While the next Manipur Legislative Assembly election is due in early March 2022 the launching of second edition of Manipur Government’s Go to Village is more like a political event of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on November 2 launched the second edition of his brainchild Go to Village as ‘Go to Village 2.0’ at Moijing village in Thoubal district.

It is well known that “Go to Village” was conceived as a result of Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s public interactions in Miyamgi Numit and Hill Leaders Day, where he heard the concerns and grievances of the general public. It was basically aimed at service delivery of various government schemes to the general population up to the village level and ensures the reach of governance in every nook and corner of the state.

After the launching of his brainchild’s second edition, Chief Minister Biren took to his Twitter handle and said, “With service delivery at the doorsteps as key agenda, I’m glad to have launched the Go to Village 2.0 at Thoubal district.”

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren declared, under the ‘Go to Village 2.0’, public service delivery camps will be organised in all the 16 districts and 4.51 lakh households in the state will be covered in 50 days. The initiative will extend essential public service benefits of various state and central government schemes to the doorsteps of all the citizens of Manipur, Biren tweeted.

Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren further said that under the initiative, vaccination camps are being set up simultaneously to vaccinate all eligible persons.

He further said the stalls which are set up by various departments will facilitate availing benefits under various schemes, including PMGKAY, PMUY, CM e-Support Scheme, MIDH, EDP, StartUp Manipur, PMJAY and CMHT.

Chief Minister Biren also urged the residents of Thoubal district to avail these benefits at the Moijing Public ground where the launch event will be held in the next two days. He further said that as we gradually get out of the COVID-19 pandemic, efficient service delivery have been our key agenda. “The BJP-led people’s government has heard the voices of the people and has prioritised the welfare of the population,” the Chief Minister added.

Moreover, Manipur Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren on November 15 inaugurated ‘Go to Village 2.0’ for Imphal West District at a function held at Eco Tourism Park, Salam Thongkhong. As it is a government programme, the three-day programme was organised by the Imphal West District Administration. Stalls of different government departments have been set up at the venue to provide services to the people.

Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister reminded again that the ‘Go to Village’ mission has been taken up as an initiative to ensure doorstep delivery of services, and that such initiative would help regain the erstwhile bonding and trust among different communities of the state.

Explaining the reason of conducting Go to Village programmes, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said, understanding the hardships faced by the people of far-flung villages in visiting government offices for availing welfare schemes, the government has aimed to provide various services and facilities at the people’s doorstep.

Informing that a total of 2,679 villages have been covered under Phase I of ‘Go to Village’ and ‘Go to Hills mission’, the Chief Minister continued that Phase II of the missions would cover the remaining villages. He also mentioned benefits provided under various welfare schemes and said a total of around 5 lakh people had availed of the Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT) cards and 3.5 lakh had availed of the Ayushman Bharat cards.

Now, the second edition of Go to Village mission aims to hold public service delivery camps in all the 16 districts of the state in which 4.51 lakh households will be covered in 50 days. This initiative will extend essential public service benefits of various state and central government schemes to the doorstep of all the citizens of Manipur.

During the programme, Chief Minister Biren distributed assistances under various schemes including smartphones under CM e-Support Scheme, textbooks, uniforms, sports equipments under Education Department, Manipur Start Up Scheme, Cards under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) and Chief Minister-gi Hakshelgi Tengbang (CMHT), Widows’ Pension Scheme, Pension, aid and appliances for physically challenged, Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) and Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) among others.

Notably, the main objective of “Go To Village” Mission is to reach out to its citizens at their doorsteps, explain government programmes and its benefits to the people and ensure timely delivery of services to eligible beneficiaries, redressal their problems and queries in a smooth and citizen-friendly manner and provides on the spot solutions, on the same day, without any delay, wherever possible. Special focus is given to schemes and identification of left out eligible beneficiaries for inclusion of housing, old age pension etc.

Given the constant harassment and indifferent attitude of government officials besides the red tape one has to go through in their visits to government offices for availing services, the Go to Village mission is indeed a boon to the simple-minded and innocent villagers for at least the appointed days of the Go to Village.

However, the second edition of the Go to Village has become more of a political event of the ruling BJP than a state government affair.

It is well known now to the public that the Go to Village mission has become the prime focus of BJP this time and it aims to take maximum advantage out of it, before the final announcement of the assembly polls. Doorstep service delivery of schemes and benefits, including Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) could be a winner as the party makes its final lap to the finishing line. The ruling party BJP is so daring as to openly flaunt it without even a care as if the Go to Village missions are the political events of their party. Of course, the election code of conduct is yet to come.

Saffron everywhere in government’s “Go to Village-2” campaign

However, Go to Village is a Government Programme even though it is a brainchild of Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren.

Notably, at Takhel in Imphal East, BJP brass was seen taking to the stage in the Go to Village event on November 9. The event at Salam Thongkhong on November 15 was more like a political event with BJP flags fluttering everywhere and with the grace of Agriculture Minister Oinam Lukhoi; MP Leishemba Sanajaoba; Deputy Speaker, Manipur State Legislative assembly Kongkham Robindro; Chairman, Manipur Buildings & Others Construction Workers’ Welfare Board Heikham Dingo; MLA for Konthoujam AC Dr Sapam Ranjan; MLA for Wangjing Tentha AC Paonam Brojen; MLA for Langthabal AC Karam Shyam; Adyakshya Imphal West Zilla Parishad RK Taruni; Chief Secretary Dr Rajesh Kumar; Administrative Secretaries of Manipur Government; and Zilla Parishad Members.

While the Manipur Congress charges that the Government of Manipur is misusing public money in the name of Go to Village, Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren said that some people are mad at the development programmes of BJP government in short period of time.

Manipur Congress spokesperson, Ningombam Bhupenda tweeted, How BJP Government in Manipur misuses our people’s money in “Go To Village”. Go To Village – which is being unnecessarily organised by using public exchequer’s money under the garb of one political party’s election campaign. It causes delay in the development of the state.

Unfortunately, the speech of Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren at the Go to Village mission held at Salam Thongkhong also made the mission more like a BJP’s election campaign.

Chief Minister Biren said, “Manipur will never develop if not under leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi … If BJP government is made to return next, more development programmes will come to the doorsteps of the citizens. Manipur will become more developed. So, let the BJP government comes next term also. Let’s clap together so that the BJP Government comes again.”

Nevertheless, the Government of Manipur needs to take care in organising and conducting government programmes so that the state programmes are not turned into political events giving opportunity to the ruling BJP. Otherwise, it will dilute the credibility of Chief Minister Nongthombam Biren’s brainchild, Go to Mission.

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