End of the largest democratic exercise
Bugle sounded for next 5 years
From 2 out of 2 in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the question is what the score would be like for the Congress this time around here in Manipur. This question will be known today (May 23), but this poser is important not only to the Congress but also equally to the BJP. In many ways the fortune and downslide of either party will mean something to the other and so it stands that if the Congress loses, the gain will automatically be seen to have gone to the BJP and vice versa. On a wider scale, the focus of the people will also be on how things pan out across the country and the question at the top of everyone’s mind is whether Narendra Modi will return for a second term or whether the BJP and its allies will be sent packing. Only time will tell, but significant to note that back in 2014, the BJP rode the Narendra Modi wave so much so that the Congress could send only 44 MPs to the Lower House of Parliament while the BJP was home with a comfortable 282 MPs out of 543. Remains to be seen if the BJP and its allies can repeat the 2014 performance but everything suggest that this time the fight may be closer than it was in the previous Lok Sabha elections. Back home, here in Manipur, the BJP too must on a buoyant mood, capturing power from the Congress after its 15 years rule in the Assembly elections in 2017. Moreover, eight MLAs who were elected as Congress candidates have jumped onto the bandwagon of the BJP and surely these MLAs can go a long way in impacting on the voting behaviour of the people.
As noted in earlier commentaries here, the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections here will be much more crucial for the BJP than for the Congress for the simple fact that the party in power at Imphal has always been able to send its candidate to the Lok Sabha for the last three terms. So it was that when the Congress was in power here, it managed to send its candidate to the Lok Sabha thrice from the Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency and twice from the Outer Parliamentary Constituency. Tough to say whether the BJP will be able to repeat the feat of the Congress in the two seats here and this is where it becomes more significant for the BJP than for the Congress in Manipur. If the BJP wins then it will go a long way in bolstering the hold of the party over the State, but if it loses, then the situation may not be comfortable for the State BJP leadership. On the other hand, if the Congress or any other party manage to win the election in any of the two Parliamentary Constituencies, it would be tom tommed as the people coming out against the BJP which is in power. A few hours from now, the results will be out and all the speculations will be put to rest. On the other hand if there is no clear cut verdict, then one can expect the different political parties reaching out to each other, that is other than the pre-poll or post poll arrangements that have already been made.