The lull after a banging start:
Stand off to Babysana’s death
Nothing seems to be going right for the BJP led Government which came like a breath of fresh air after the 2017 Assembly elections. In N Biren Singh the State received a new Chief Minister after seeing O Ibobi of the Congress for 15 consecutive years. The hill-valley divide seemed to have been addressed to a certain extent best exemplified by the rousing welcome accorded to the new Chief Minister at Ukhrul, the same place which greeted former Chief Minister O Ibobi with a barrage of gun fire. The UNC economic blockade was called off after the BJP led Government came to power and suddenly the Government of Manipur was no longer the communal Government of Manipur, a description used fluently and effectively by the United Naga Council. The Churachandpur stand off from 2015 when the then Congress Government passed the three Bills, which were later dubbed anti-tribal Bills, was resolved and the bodies of the slain protesters were finally laid to rest. Cabinet meetings in the hills, Go to Hills slogan, Hill Leaders’ Day every month and yes the BJP led Government seemed to have given a refreshing change to what governance is all about. No more serpentine queues in front of petrol pumps, so frequently witnessed by media persons while returning home after their day’s work in the dead of the night and no more buying petrol at Rs 100/150/160 per litre from the black market. Things seemed to be going fine then, but then as they say everything that can go wrong can always go wrong in a place like Manipur and the honeymoon with normalcy seemed to have blown over when only 50 percent of the Cabinet Ministers attended the Cabinet meeting held at Ukhrul on June 4 this year.
This was when the first sign of the crack within the BJP in the Government appeared and in no time voices of discontent were raised with some BJP MLAs even going live on a TV channel to claim that they what they want is a change in leadership. The stand off still continues and no one seems to know which way the wind will blow or is blowing. Other than this, trouble, far removed from what is happening within the ruling party continues to dog the Government. So even as Chief Minister N Biren announced that the death case of N Babysana will be handed over to the CBI, there is no sign that the people are ready to take comfort in the assurance of the Government. Dharnas continue to be staged and parents of the school where the late little child studied have even taken back the belongings of their wards and children from the hostel where the deceased girl stayed. The loser at the moment is the school and by extension education. This is apart from the immense sense of loss the parents of the young girls child must have experienced and continue to undergo. The uproar of the people may not have any impact on the Government as such, but this does not paint the Government in any good light, given the fact that it took days for it to come out with an official statement on the death of the young child. With the dissidents still sticking to their stand, the coming days will surely be interesting but it would not be in the interest of the people and the land, for here is an example of a Government failing to take everyone along with it.