Partners in coalition Govt
Witty exchange of words
Not exactly weird but strange bedfellows. No love lost and it is the maths of keeping the Congress out of the frame of any Government formation that the BJP and the NPP are still there together in the coalition Government. And making things more worse would obviously have been the decision to drop L Jayanta and Kayisii from the Council of Ministers some time back. Top this off with the much earlier decision to strip the finance portfolio from Deputy Chief Minister Y Joykumar and the script appears perfect for the BJP and the NPP to go hammer and tongs against each other ahead of the by elections in the five Assembly Constituencies, for which voting will be held on November 7. Witty exchange of words, no doubt, but it is not yet clear how well this would have gone down with the voters. With Chief Minister N Biren putting on his best foot forward to woo the voters of Wangoi Assembly Constituency and mincing no words in reminding the people that in BJP candidate O Lukhoi they have a Minister to back and rely on, the NPP also shot back with the cryptic remark that it wouldn’t make sense to vote a man who has been made a Minister for only six months. To good effect, the Chief Minister has also on more than one occasion said that the Ministerial berth allotted to Lukhoi is in recognition of the sacrifice that he made (giving up his seat/resigning) to back the BJP led Government, which is committed to the welfare of the people. To the keen political observers, the witty exchange of words, ‘a Minister to elect’ and a ‘Minister for only six months,’ should be clear that no stones have been left unturned to woo the people on the ‘Minister plank’. An indication that the line, ‘A Minister can do so much for the people’ is being sold to the people to garner support, overlooking the fact that an MLA can also do so much for the people.
So while the two partners in Government verbally slug it out in their bid to win over the people, the virus continues to play havoc with the lives of the people. For many days the increase has been in the three figure mark with Manipur recording the highest spike of 426 cases on October 17. Along with this also came the news that Manipur is running low on testing kits, thereby telling the story that so much more needs to be done to combat the virus. Top this off with the fact that local transmission or positive cases amongst people with no known travel history make up the bulk of the more than 15 thousand positive cases and this is ideally where the focus of the Government should be. And election campaign obviously means gathering of people and one can imagine where the call for maintaining physical or social distancing would have gone in such public meetings. Top this off with reports coming in that the State Government is seriously mulling over the idea of imposing yet another round of lockdown for one or two weeks thereby giving rise to the question ‘what about the hectic election campaigns ?’ Remember too, as one columnist has pointed out, if the elections to the Autonomous District Councils was earlier postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, among other reasons, how about the scheduled by elections ? Or is it a case of the virus knowing the importance of not keeping an Assembly seat vacant for long ?