From ‘Foolproof security will be provided from August 15,’ to ‘Schools and colleges have not closed’ to ‘40 litres of diesel to passenger buses, 25 litres of diesel to local trucks, 15 litres of diesel to Tata Sumo and Tata Magic and 10 litres of petrol or diesel to private four wheelers for every three days in all cases’, the SPF Government is hell bent on competing with its own shadow to excel in arrogance. From August 1, 2011 to November 21, 2011, the joke of a governance, immersed deep in an endless bout of self gratification and arrogance has been staged for all to see and hear. Manipur is not new to the politics of blockade and it will continue, for the premise on which some of these demands, such as the present Alternative Arrangement rest simply cannot be wished away nor solved at the level of the State Government. This is however no reason for any Government to throw up it hands and resign the fate of the people to the situation. It is to resolve situations like this why there is a Government in the first place. By design or through sheer ignorance, the present dispensation seems to have overlooked this crucial factor. Or a cocktail of arrogance and ignorance. Ten long years in power and the only whiff of a Government in place can be seen or felt only when the Ministers move around with their security escorts adding to the nuisance value on the busy roads of Imphal. It can be seen on the dusty and bumpy roads of Imphal. Their presence is writ large on the shadows cast over everyone’s head during the load shedding period and more significantly when the guys at the Power Department suddenly decide to play truant and black out an entire neighbourhood for hours or for days. The ominous presence of the Government can be felt when they send their uniformed personnel to shoo away the civilians who have lined up in front of a petrol pump just to get petrol worth Rs 500 or so the following morning. It is obvious that arrogance has blinded the present dispensation and even as the people have to dig deep into their pockets to buy a kilogram of seasonal vegetables, the Chief Minister thinks nothing wrong of declaring that the Opposition parties are more concerned with their TAs while attending the Assembly. If this is not an affront on the privilege of the Assembly, then what would be ? Or is it a case of two different sets of rules for the public and the elected members ? Nero merely slept when Rome burnt, but the present dispensation is pouring fuel over the raging inferno. Take your pick.
This is the time when the Government should be wracking its brains on how to beat the economic blockade. And beating the economic blockade cannot be achieved by casting aspersions on a neighbouring State or by rhetorics such as ‘We can make our way upto Mao, but the concern is the stretch beyond that.’ The Government’s idea of equating governance with playing to the gallery is pathetic and stands exposed for all to see and hear. The politics of blockade rests on the premise of a weakling of a Government. It also rests on the fact that there is only one viable lifeline for the 25 odd lakh population. The last ten years of ‘stability’ has done nothing to open up new lifelines. What has happened to the much touted promise of upgrading Tongjei Maril to the status of a National Highway ? Why has no priority been given to this ? Or are election manifestos nothing but some cleverly worded lies to fool the public ? Even as the Government has been letting loose its cops on the people lining up outside petrol pumps in the night, highway blockaders continue to have a free run. It is a sight to see blockade supporters signalling down vehicles on the National Highway right in front of police stations and checking the vehicles. Is this the Government’s idea of governance or respecting democratic protests ? The joke has been going on for too long. For all practical purposes, the writ of the Government runs upto only Sekmai in the north, Moirang to the west, Yaingangpokpi to the east and Pallel to the south. While the much hyped ten years of political stability sits comfortably on the crown of the SPF Government, this has been translated into arrogance and high handedness at the ground level.