Lining up for delimitation, ADC polls: Rolling up sleeves

Manipur named amongst four States in the North Eastern part of the country which should go in for delimitation exercise now as the Legislative Department of the Law Ministry has observed the circumstances that led to the deferment of the last delimitation exercise back in 2008 no longer exist. One only hopes that the ghost of 2002 does not come back to haunt Manipur as it did nearly twenty years back when the State allegedly witnessed ‘abnormal population growth’ the Census of which was conducted in 2001. The delimitation exercise is based on the findings of the Census and in Manipur this will be held according to the Census of 2011. In other words the number of seats in the State Assembly can be changed according to the population of each Assembly segment as per the findings of the Census. It is now already nine years since the last Census was conducted and so far there has been no cry of wrong or suspected head counts. Along with the delimitation exercise, the State will also witness elections to the Autonomous District Councils and surely the coming days will be interesting. For Ukhrul ADC, the Naga People’s Front has already kick started their campaign in style inaugurating a unit office at Tangrei in the district headquarters and this is where it will be interesting to see if the NPF and the BJP will continue with their ‘alliance’ as seen in the present BJP led Government or whether there will be any ‘friendly fight,’ a term championed by politicians and political parties before any election.
Another interesting question is, whether the Congress will continue to remain as the ‘untouchable’ party in the hill districts, particularly in the Naga dominated districts. Will the Congress be able to improve on its performance or will it continue to be paralysed with its party functionaries unable to openly canvass for the party’s candidates ? Only time will tell, but it is interesting to note that the Congress which gave Rishang Keishing as the second longest serving Chief Minister of Manipur is grasping for breath in the Naga dominated districts of Manipur. The Nationalist People’s Party (NPP), which is again supping with the BJP in the present Government at Imphal is another party which may put up a credible fight in parts of Churachandpur and Tamenglong. Early days yet but one can expect interesting political alignments and realignments in the next few months, especially in the hills. Delimitation and ADC elections and one can expect 2020 to be more interesting as the year progresses. One only hopes that the delimitation exercise does not see a repeat of 2002, when there were many charges and counter-charges, giving rise to a bigger political question.