CAB and other issues before LS polls Task cut out for State BJP

Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 10 pc quota for the economically weak general category candidates, with the ceiling at Rs 8 lakh per annum income, pressure mounted on the State Government to recommend that the Meiteis be included in the ST list of the Constitution of India. These are some issues which may be at the centre stage when the State goes for Parliamentary elections anytime soon. Moreover the MU crisis which left the varsity crippled for days will surely come back or will be made to come back to remind the people/voters of the sense of immunity under which the then VC AP Pandey returned in the midst of the probe underway against him. Then there is the popular demand for a mechanism to regulate the inflow of non-local people into the State and the pending Manipur People’s Protection Bill. Not to forget the ongoing political dialogue between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM) and clearly the tasks ahead of the BJP led Government here must be clear. Only two Parliamentary seats, but this would not rob the importance of the State in the Lok Sabha elections and as stated many times in this column, the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will be more crucial for the State BJP and Chief Minister N Biren than for the MPCC (I). This is a point which must have registered in the mind of the Chief Minister and the State level BJP leaders. How they go about dealing with all these issues remains to be seen, but surely the coming few days will not be dull. It will also be interesting to see how the Congress intend to reap political dividends out of the issues named here and definitely it will be a no holds barred confrontation between the two principal political parties.
Not surprisingly the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is at the centre stage right now. And much will depend on how the State Government led by the BJP tackles this issue in the coming days. As things stand, the NPP and NPF in Nagaland, both key partners in the BJP led Government here have spoken their stand against the said Bill and it will be interesting if and when the said Bill is passed in the Rajya Sabha. All these must have weighed in on the minds of the State BJP leaders and it is towards this that the State Government has made a plea to the Centre to exempt Manipur from the purview of the Bill. How this will cut ice with the Centre remains to be seen but New Delhi should understand why the North East has unitedly risen as one against the Bill. Unlike the other points, such as the ongoing political dialogue between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India, the CAB will concern the whole North East region and this is where the BJP will need to tread cautiously. Much will depend on how the Centre responds to the unfolding scenario in the North East and in its response will lie the voting behaviour of the people. As noted earlier here, the Congress too will not be sleeping over the matter and will see what it can do to land more blows on the BJP. All the issues mentioned here will make the 2019 Lok Sabha elections all that more interesting and much will depend on how the two principal political parties respond to the unfolding scenario.

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