Bharat Bandh in Imphal Fuel price during Cong’s rule

Is it a case of the Congress managing to harness the anger of the public over the rising prices of essential commodities as an off shoot of the soaring prices of fuel or is it a case of people just locking up their business houses to not get caught in any untoward situation during the Bharat Bandh at Imphal and the outlying districts on September 10 ? This is a question which the State BJP or the BJP led Government at Imphal must have started exploring. Moreover will the show of strength on the bandh day have any impact when Parliamentary election is held for the Inner Parliamentary seat sometime in the early part of next year ? The country wide bandh called by the Opposition parties, with Congress leading the way, is significant for more than one reason. In the first place, Parliamentary election is just some months away. Secondly, to the Congress and its allies and other political parties which are not on board the NDA, this is the right time to mobilise the people and harness their anger over the rising price of fuel, which has again led to price rise of other essential commodities. It is also the time to reach out to the other political parties, such as the Left (though it held its own protest), which has never seen eye to eye with the BJP and work towards forging a united Opposition to take on the BJP and its allies in the 2019 Parliamentary elections. It has also to be admitted that the Congress knew which key to press and skirted issues such as hate politics, intolerance etc which would have appealed more to the intelligentsia and instead picked up price rise to mobilise the middle class or the common man.
Fuel price is obviously beyond the control of the BJP led Government at Imphal, but the massive response to the bandh call should be seen beyond price rise. In many ways the good response to the bandh call could have been dictated by the AP Pandey issue for the fact stands that many in Manipur see him as a BJP man and thus the sense of ‘immunity’ he enjoys. Chief Minister N Biren must be wise to this observation and as pointed out in an earlier commentary here, how the elections pan out, particularly in the Inner seat will impact on him. This is a point which the Central leadership of the BJP too should take note of. In other words if the MU crisis had been resolved by now, if AP Pandey had not returned and resumed office, then the response of the people to the bandh called by the Congress could have been different here. On the other hand, as far as Manipur is concerned, Rs 80 a litre of petrol is not that shocking for remember people had to fork out as much as Rs 120 a litre of petrol in the black market during economic blockades when the Congress was in power here. A point which the BJP can use to good effect in the run up to the Parliamentary election. Early days yet, and while it is interesting to see the Congress picking holes in the BJP led Government it should remember that, many here have had to undergo the pinch of forking out over Rs 100 a litre of petrol during the blockade days. Congress should not forget this happened during its days here and that too very often.

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