Governor Address - 1998


Mr. Speaker and Hon'ble Members,

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this first Session of the State Assembly in the New Year. My sincerest best wishes to all of you for a very happy and prosperous New year in the service of the people of Manipur. It is my hope that you will spare no efforts in ensuring the restoration of peace to this troubled State.

Hon'ble Members, to recapitulate, on Dec 15, 1997 , this House met in a brief sessions, to facilitate the then Chief Minister Shri Rishang Keishing to test his majority on the floor of the House. Having lost of confidence, he promptly, in the best traditions of parliamentary democracy, bowed out of office by submitting the resignation of his Council of Ministers. I place on record my appreciation of the peaceful atmosphere maintained by the Hon'ble Members during the vote of confidence. My sincerest thanks to the leaders of the then ruling party; the then leader of the opposition, the Hon'ble Members on the two sides who all set very high standards of dignity and decorum and strengthened parliamentary democracy.

Hon'ble Members, in the best traditions, I too was equally prompt in inviting Shri Nipamacha Singh to form the Govt. These were small steps yet they are bound to become important milestones in the history of democracy and democratic institution in the Country.

Hon'ble Mr. Speaker—Hon'ble Members, events following the Session did, however, cause me anxiety. It took me time to decide as to which forum should I use for giving vent to my anguish. Since the matter rested with this august House and since the constitution makes me a part of the State Legislature, I decided to give vent to my anxiety on this forum itself.

Hon'ble Mr. Speaker, it will be useful to start by pointing out that we are lucky in having amidst us a few members who have been in politics—even for 50 years, some have been members of this august House more than thrice, some for 20-25 years or even more. We have amidst us today, two Hon'ble Ex-Chief Ministers and one Hon'ble Chief Minister; at least 4 Hon'ble ex-Speakers in addition to you Mr. Speaker. It is to you, most Hon'ble Speaker—to the ex and present Chief Ministers to the Hon'ble Members, particularly those who have been in this House for long years on this side or that side that I address my anxiety.

Hon'ble Members, parliamentary democracy is the life-blood of our Constitution. I hence, with all humility, assert that we can preserve the Constitution only by conforming to the letter and spirit of the parliamentary democracy. Hon'ble Members, vital for the success of parliamentary democracy are its institutions and their total integrity. First and foremost is the institution of the Hon'ble MLAs themselves, who derive their authority directly from the electorate which votes them to this august House – the party and the manifestos based on which they contest the polls; second is the leader of the ruling party and the Council of Ministers, who assume the responsibility of giving shape and implementing the wishes of the electorate and the people; third is the Leader of the Opposition, who not only acts as a zealous monitor of law, conventions, constitutions, and budget related matters, but also provides the material for the various Committees of this august House and keeps the Govt. on its toes; fourth is the institution of the Hon'ble Speaker, who not only acts as the guardian of the house, but in whom the Hon'ble Members, representing all sections, whether in the government or otherwise, look forward to for the protection of their interests and last is the Institution of governor, who is finally responsible for preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution and the law. Total impartiality and absolute integrity of each of these institutions is vital for the success of parliamentary democracy. Diluting the role of any of these institutions means not only an assault on the Constitution per se but on democracy itself. Hon'ble Members, I hence, most respectfully, bring it to your kind attention that I, as the Head of the Legislature, believe, and most sincerely too, that if we want to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the Law, we should preserve the sanctity of the Institutions created by them. And that is where my anxiety lies.

Hon'ble Mr. Speaker, Hon'ble Members, today, we have with us a new government. and as a guardian of this State, it is my duty to suggest an ideal before the State executive and legislators. And I do this with all humility by asserting that, whether you are in the executive or in the legislature, in our State or anywhere else, each one of you is primarily a public servant; servant of the people, the raison d'etre of your existence, therefore, cannot be politics per se, or office, or power, or pursuit of power but service of the people and of the poor for whom we all owe our existence. Hon'ble Mr. Speaker, with your permission, I take the liberty of, not quoting the oft-quoted sholka form the Gita, but a couplet from Saint Mahakavi Tulsidas, the writer of the Ramcharit Manas or the Ramayan, who with such brevity yet with such telling effect did prescribe an ideal for people in authority, not only in our State, in our country but anywhere in the world, by saying:

“Jasu raaj priy, praja dukhari,

Te nar abas, narak adhikari.”

(To those, whom power per se is dear;

Their subjects' sorrow and agony notwithstanding;

They would not but entitle themselves to divine retribution.)

Hon'ble Speaker, this is what had been my touchstone, my guiding light and that is what , in all humility, I propose to pass on through you to all the Institutions which jointly form the State Legislature and the State Executive. Should we not be frequently posing this question to ourselves and should we not be frequently asking ourselves whether by whatever we do are we catering to the interests of our subjects/ the poor in our State or not and whether by our acts we were strengthening the institutions or weakening them ? I am sure, if we in the Govt could just do that, the interests of the poor, who today appear disillusioned, will be looked after.

Finally, Hon'ble Mr. Speaker, Hon'ble Members it is evident that all is not well with Manipur. As an administration of 40 years' experience, now as the State's Governor, when I invited Hon'ble Shri Nipamacha on December 15, 1997 to assume office as Chief Minister, I did inter-alia bring to his kind notice the need for immediate efforts towards;

i) restoration of law and order in the State, particularly ending the ethnic strife;

ii) keeping the deadline for hosting the V National Games in Imphal;

iii) carrying forward/completing the project started by the predecessor Government and preparing a paper identifying specific projects/schemes which the new Government would like to take up during its tenure;

iv) getting the Mapal Kangjeibung Pologround improvement work completed by March end:

v) preparing a blueprint for providing and increasing job opportunities to the ever- increasing number of unemployed youths.

These were only some of the items. I was sanguine enough and understand that even when action on all these aspects was completed, all eyes in the State would still not be without tears. However, a new Government needs to make a beginning somewhere. Hence, I volunteered these suggestions. Hon'ble members, I once again take this opportunity to suggest that the leader of the Government should, in the best traditions of democracy, take initiative by inviting all sections of this august House for evolving a consensus at least on vital issues like the ethnic strife and the V National Games, etc. in dealing with which everyone of us will need to rise above party politics.

Hon'ble Members, I do remember that a local daily, in one of its enlightened Editorials did mention the role played by the Tokyo Olympics in reviving the battered pride of Japan following its defeat in the World War II. National Games are for Manipur what Tokyo Olympics were for Japan . I hence sound an alert that if, for any reason, the State Govt. failed in meeting the deadline and the Games were aborted- and I do add that I sincerely hope that this would not happen- the youth who are sweating it out day and night and working with their sweat and blood – one cyclist, I understand, has already sacrificed her life- in a bid to bring glory to themselves, to Manipur, and in the hope of making a place for themselves in the contingents for the Commonwealth Games to Malaysia and thereafter to the Asian Games, would justifiably feel frustrated and their frustration might become difficult to handle. It is hence my sincere hope and my humble suggestion that this House pay special attention to this requirement, more so since we have just 126 days left for whatever we want to do. To my mind, hosting the National Games is not only getting the infrastructure completed or getting the constructions done on schedule, but it is an effort aimed at involving an entire population – all section; almost generating a movement. And for this everyone, and particularly the Government, has to move straight away without losing another day.

Hon'ble Members, I leave all these questions and suggestions with you for discussion and deliberations as and when you found time. It is my hope that the wisdom of this House and the experience of the Hon'ble MLAs, Hon'ble ex-Speakers and the present Speaker and all Hon'ble ex-Chief Ministers and the present Chief Minister, would come handy in finding answer to these questions and putting democracy on its course.

Hon'ble Mr. Speaker, Hon'ble Members, the purpose for which I have summoned this House today is to afford an opportunity to the Government to prove its majority on the floor of the House, to elect a Deputy Speaker if necessary, and to handle such other business as may be brought up. I hence, while conveying my best wishes to all of you, leave you to your deliberations which, I am sure, will be in the best interests of the people of Manipur.





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