State BJP : Set to look beyond 2022
The Delhi effect
The Delhi effect. Not exactly a case of ‘if it rains in Delhi, people take out umbrellas in Imphal,’ but comes somewhat close to it. In as much as BJP camps across the country must be celebrating the stupendous victory of the party at the just held Lok Sabha elections, the BJP here in Manipur too must have started looking beyond 2022, that is when the Assembly election here is due. With the BJP firmly in place till 2024 at New Delhi, the State BJP has every reason to look for another stint in office with much optimism. Which ever party is in power at New Delhi invariably is much better placed to form the Government at Imphal and this observation comes from past experience. After the BJP swept the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, the saffron party has been going from strength to strength here and this is best exemplified by the fact that today there are 8 MLAs who were elected as Congress candidates but are today extending support to the BJP led Government here. It is from this and the partnership it has struck with the NPF and the NPP that the Biren Singh led BJP Government is today drawing its strength from. And the sweeping victory at the Lok Sabha elections will surely have a direct impact when the State goes for Assembly elections in 2022. Apart from this, the hands of the BJP led Government at Imphal would have been strengthened a lot more and surely everything that can go right is going right for the Biren Singh led Government. For this the BJP led Government at Imphal has to thank not only the voters of the Inner Parliamentary Constituency but also to all the States which overwhelmingly voted for the BJP.
The icing on the cake for the State BJP is obviously the victory of Dr RK Ranjan Singh in the Inner Parliamentary Constituency. As noted in an earlier commentary here, the gains for the BJP will obviously mean a loss for the Congress and if the past is any indication, then the same degree of exuberance at the BJP camp will be met with the same level of despondency at the Congress camp. It is not only the BJP which will be looking beyond 2022, but there is every reason for the Congress and the other political parties to tighten their belt and ensure that no members stray or switch side in the coming days. The eight rogue Congress MLAs have already led the way in demonstrating what they can do and this is all the more reason why the party should be ready to face any such further eventuality. Victory for the BJP, but the natural question that is uppermost in the mind of the keen political observers is how the Congress in Imphal will respond to the resounding defeat at the polls. Will any of its members turn tail and abandon the ‘sinking ship ?’ This is a question which the top leadership of the MPCC (I) cannot afford to overlook, given the ‘principles’ of so many politicians in the State. So far the State Congress has been a responsible and effective Opposition, but the whacking it has received at the Lok Sabha elections may just deflate the spirit of the party’s members and this is where the top leadership will need to step in and see that no one abandons the party at this stage.