Dissolved but not ready for polls?
The case of ADC Chairmen
The Chairmen and Members of the Autonomous District Councils have reasons to be peeved. Dissolving the ADCs without making any visible preparations for holding the elections is somewhat like putting the cart before the horse and the natural question that arises is whether the Government took the decision to dissolve the ADCs following pressure from different quarters, most notably from the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur or whether it went by merit under the conviction that extending the term of the present ADC by six months is more than enough. Obviously the ADC Chairmen and the Members think otherwise and while there can be no answer on which side appears more reasonable, it stands that the rule book allows the ADC tenure to be extended by one year. On record the Chairmen and the Members are peeved because no notable arrangements have been taken up to conduct the elections before dissolving the ADC and not because of the decision to dissolve the ADC to pave way for the next elections. This is about the official record but there could be so many things left unsaid but which nonetheless would be understood by all those who have been keenly following the functioning of the ADCs. On the other hand, ATSUM has justified its stand on the ground that the term of the ADC has already been extended once and there is no point in extending it further. Both sides may have their own merit, but important to keep in mind that there could be so many things which have been left unsaid from either side. This is where the voters will need to use their judgment wisely when the election to the ADC is held.
The Chairmen are also peeved that the present BJP led Government has broken from the past precedence and instead of retaining the sitting Chairmen as caretaker Chairmen until the election is over has gone ahead and named the respective Deputy Commissioners as the caretaker Chairmen. This according to the Chairmen is demeaning the office of the elected personalities. This is what is disturbing. For 20 long years the ADC was kept under suspension and it was only in 2010 that it was revived and elections to the ADCs were held. However again the 2010 elections ran into stormy water with the United Naga Council then boycotting the election demanding that the ADC Amendment Bill of 2008 be withdrawn before holding the elections. In fact so strong was the opposition to the ADC elections held in 2010 that the ADC Chairmen and Members who were declared elected amid the boycott had to stay in safe houses at Imphal. The threat perception to the ADC Members back then could be surmised from the fact that an elected ADC Member from Phungyar Constituency who was elected in the 2010 ADC election, Ngalangzar Malue, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen near Finch Corner on the Imphal-Ukhrul road sometime in July of 2014. Things have improved since then and there was no boycott call of the ADC election held in 2015. From boycott to healthy participation is certainly a good improvement and this reality should not be lost on anyone, least of all the Members and Chairmen of the ADCs and the State Government. And it is in light of this fact that the necessary arrangements ought to be taken up to conduct the ADC elections as soon as possible. Give due importance to the ADC. This should be the call of all concerned.