Internal storm after a brief lull:
The tussle continues
After a brief lull, the storm. This is how the crisis amongst the BJP legislators in the Government may be summed up in brief. Meeting to discuss the internal crisis and perhaps find a way out cancelled as majority of the BJP MLAs failed to turn up, clearly underlining the point that nothing is right amongst the BJP legislators and it is against this backdrop that one should understand the decision of the BJP leadership at New Delhi to appoint Rajya Sabha MP and BJP National general secretary Bhupender Yadav to look into the crisis and work out a solution. The important question is whether the point of no return has been reached between those who stand by the leadership of Chief Minister N Biren and those who have raised the banner of dissent against his leadership. Can the prominent figures leading the voice of dissent really sit together with the Chief Minister and work things out, now that things have reached this stage ? Tough to say for politics is probably the art of doing the impossible but would such a rapprochement help instil confidence in the people ? Can the people be expected to have trust in a Government where its leaders do not see eye to eye on important matters ? The State BJP may trump the ‘internal’ affair card to silence criticisms particularly coming from the Opposition but when the party in power is riddled with internal dissent, then it is bound to raise questions not only from the Opposition but also the public, with the media leading the way. This is what has been happening in Manipur ever since half the Cabinet Ministers decided to stay away from the Cabinet meeting held at Ukhrul district headquarters on June 4.
The proverbial last straw on the back of the camel came when the Chief Minister decided to remove Works and the Power portfolios from Th Biswajit and Finance from Deputy Chief Minister Yumnam Joykumar. The removal of the key portfolios from the said two MLAs came after the State ran into overdrafts and the RBI banned all Government transactions, bringing back bitter memories of 1999 when unpaid salaries, overdraft and RBI ban were the staple news of all the Imphal based newspapers. Not surprisingly the venue shifted to New Delhi with the dissident leaders camping there followed by the Chief Minister who was officially in the National capital for the Niti Ayog meeting. Before the battle ground shifted to New Delhi, emissaries from New Delhi, particularly BJP general secretary and in charge of North East, Ram Madhav was here for some time to hear all sides, but obvious that no breakthrough has been achieved with the Centre now appointing another general secretary of the BJP, Bhupender Yadav to broker a solution. Early days yet, as far as the naming of Bhupender Yadav goes, but the difference of opinion within the BJP legislators has gone too deep and dragged on for too long. No solution in sight unless the Centre’s emissary is able to persuade one of the two sides to roll back. But the important question is whether it would be practical for anyone to expect the Chief Minister to throw in the towel at this stage. The more important question is, if not Biren then who is the best placed BJP leader to step into his shoes. This is the question that the Central leaders of the BJP too must have explored.