Then : Indifferent, aloof Now : Hyper sensitive

There is no mistake about it. Ever since N Biren took over as Chief Minister of the State on March 15, 2017 heading a BJP led coalition Government, he has gone out of his way to project himself as the people’s Chief Minister. Meeyamgi Numit, Hill Leaders’ Day, being accessible to the media and it is in keeping with the image that he is trying to cultivate that the Chief Minister made it a point to visit veteran scribes, retired journalists in fact, and retired Justices on June 10. All these moves are sure to go down well with the public, but there still remains the question of whether all these initiatives will translate into good and effective governance or not. Not exactly a comparison but one cannot help recalling how it was like when Manipur was under the Congress with O Ibobi heading the Government as the Chief Minister. A cursory comparison will surely bring out the differences for here is a man as the Chief Minister who is intent on projecting himself as a leader of the people and his predecessor who remained somewhat out of reach of the common people. How the new changes have gone down with the people will perhaps be known when Manipur goes for the Assembly election sometime in 2022, which is a good four years away. Much as N Biren has been trying to project himself as a people’s Chief Minister, the question still remains whether the BJP led Government is ready to take criticism from the media, in the right spirit. Here again a comparison is warranted. While O Ibobi and his men did not really care what the media had to say, there is the gut feeling that the present dispensation takes everything written in the newspapers to heart and some times act upon it.
An indifferent Government and a hyper sensitive Government. That is the line that one may draw between the earlier Congress Government and the present BJP led dispensation. So while the earlier Government rang out the message that it cared two hoots about what is written in the media or the daily newspapers and went about with its work non-chalantly here is a Government today which is hyper sensitive to any negative comments passed against it. An indifferent Government and now a Government which just does not seem to understand the spirit of tolerance-tolerance for pointing out its shortfalls and not just tolerance for criticisms made for criticism sake. A former journalist who edited one of the better known dailies in the State, N Biren must surely know how it is to work in the newspapers and this is where it becomes important for the Chief Minister to listen to the right counsel. Again in Irengbam Arun, the Chief Minister has one of the most well journalists in the State as the media advisor. With all the good things in store, N Biren should utilise the opportunities positively and wisely. A good beginning it is that the Chief Minister has managed to strike the right chord with the people, the people on the streets, but remember there is still four more years to go and anything can happen along the way and hence the word of caution that he takes care to surround himself with the right people and not just people who will say what he wants to hear.

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