Four out of five in by elections
Shot in the arm for BJP
Four out of five is not bad at all and Chief Minister N Biren has reasons to be pleased with the by elections, results of which have been declared on November 10. And in as much as the Chief Minister has every reason to grin from ear to ear, the Congress has every reason to feel down, very down. The only seat which slipped through the hands of the BJP is Lilong Assembly Constituency and here again it is not the Congress which has gained but rather a candidate who contested the election as an Independent candidate. It was also nowhere in the fight at Wangoi Assembly Constituency with the NPP candidate K Loken giving a close fight to the BJP candidate O Lukhoi. At Wangjing Tentha, its candidate M Hemanta did put up a credible fight against the BJP candidate P Brojen, but here again it was the BJP man who romped home. Moreover remember M Hemanta was with the BJP before coming joining hands with the Congress just before the by election. Same is the case at Wangoi, where the Congress candidate Salam Joy was also with the BJP. In short a look at the profile of some of the candidates looked like a lift from the Hollywood flick, FaceOff where the two main protagonists took on the appearance of each other, confusing/entertaining the people. In short, party hopping underlined the character of almost all the candidates, tossing aside aspects such as the ideology of the party on which ticket the candidates contested the election. If situation was not so serious, the manner in which some of the candidates verbally whip lashed the party which they have just left, would have elicited loud guffaws from everyone. To illustrate the scenario, A who left B party to sup with party C loses no time in coming out with a strong list of criticism against B party, the party to which A belonged to just the other day ! It was along this line that the by elections to the four Assembly Constituencies were held, but this should not matter to the winners, for the ultimate goal has been achieved.
Just how much the results of the by elections will impact on the working relationship between the coalition partners of the BJP led Government may not be immediately known, but significant to note that during the campaigning, the Chief Minister more than made it clear that the BJP would prefer to be in a position to go it alone. With four more BJP MLAs in the House of 60, the dream of being in a position to go it alone may be nearer for the Chief Minister. On the other hand, the good showing of the BJP may send the stock of the Chief Minister high within the BJP. The good showing would not have gone unnoticed to the Central leadership of the BJP and just how seriously the party as a whole took the by elections can be assumed from the personal appearance of NEDA convenor and BJP strongman in Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma during the poll campaign. Four out of five is not bad at all, and the BJP can take more comfort from the fact that even the lone Lilong seat did not go to the Congress but to an Independent. Perfectly in line with the slogan of Congress Mukt and this is something which would not have gone unnoticed to the Central leadership of the BJP. The Chief Minister has every reason to be satisfied and perhaps now it would be opportune for him to return his attention to the Covid pandemic which has already claimed close to 200 lives and infected over 20 thousand people. Attention too should be given to the potholed riddled roads in the heart of Imphal.