As expected, the framework agreement signed between the Government of India and NSCN-IM on August 3, 2015 has emerged as the principal point of debate and the central issue of the ensuing 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election. As the crucial election draws nearer and nearer, poll strategies of the two main contenders namely Congress party and BJP are becoming crystal clear. While BJP has been targeting the Congress Government’s infamous track record on corruption and human rights violation, particularly fake encounter cases, Congress party has been literally punching BJP for its dubious dealing with the peace talk going on between New Delhi and NSCN-IM.

Not that it ever went out of the consciousness of the public. But the manner in which the Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India back on August 3, 2015, has suddenly come to the centre stage is too significant to miss. And in many ways this means that the election campaign of the Congress and the BJP is centred around the ongoing peace process between the Centre and the NSCN (IM).

Point delivered. It is however important to go beyond the observation that the time is not conducive to hold polls in the State and study why such a situation has come about in the first place. Obviously the root cause will go back to decades, the decades of the big, big divide between the hills and the valley and it will need more than a book to come out with the whys and hows but it is important to study the present scenario, a condition wherein some organisations, the Citizens’ Committee, Manipur and earlier the United Naga Council had deemed it fit to put across the message to the Election Commission of India that the time is not conducive to hold the scheduled election to the State Assembly.

All political parties, particularly the Congress should pay attention to this call. Do not use the Framework Agreement for electoral gains, is the call rung out by the United Committee Manipur (UCM), Committee of Civil Societies, Kangleipak (CCSK) and Nongchup Imphal Meira Paibi Lup (NIMPAL) during the public meeting held at Keishampat Lairembi community hall on February 21.

Re-open and re-investigate the July 23, 2009 BT Road killing. Summon the then Additional SP in connection with the case and suddenly the Centre or rather the CBI seems to have taken cognizance of the version spelt out by suspended Head Constable Th Herojit. It may be a coincidence but the timing is just too significant to ignore. Hit the Congress where it hurts on the eve of the Assembly election, seems to be a line which is appropriate at this juncture.

This is a powerful statement and perhaps the first time that the ongoing peace talk between the NSCN (IM) and the Government has been brought in. Officially it was Interlocutor to the peace talk, RN Ravi who said that the ongoing economic blockade imposed by the UNC could impact on the Naga peace talks, but more than likely that he would not have delivered such a powerful statement without the knowledge of the Prime Minister and the other BJP leaders.

Highway blockade is illegal. This has been ruled by the Supreme Court of India. No two ways about it. The Central Government too had asked the State Government to employ all necessary measures to ensure the smooth flow of goods laden vehicles along the National Highways in the face of the more than 100 days economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC).