Design behind ‘abnormal’ growth ? Looking 20 years ahead
If at all there was a design, which seems highly likely, then one has to acknowledge the far sightedness of the brain that sketched the design. Else it is difficult to even entertain the idea that the population of some region would see a jump as high as even 150 percent in a span of ten years. Headcount of 2001 coming back to haunt the people 19 years later and the script has all the indications of the quantum leap being penned down by someone who could see beyond the immediate. This is what should be acknowledged, though one may be strongly opposed to the numerical figure fished out in 2001. Adding gist to the belief that there could have been a brain in scripting the quantum leap are the reports back in 2003 that the attempt of the then Congress led Government to go in for another round of head count was met with stiff resistance at Senapati district. Stories of how enumerators were greeted by locked doors and deserted villages when they went for the fresh recount all pointed to a design, a well scripted design that could have come only from the minds of an individual who could see or calculate how situation could be like ten or twenty years hence. The seeds of the present stand off that one sees over the proposed delimitation based on the 2001 census were sown 19 years back and this is a point which all need to acknowledge. Rewind to 2001 and the population growth in some sub-divisions in Senapati district was dubbed as ‘abnormal’ and the figure should underline this point. Purul had a growth rate of 168.78 percent, Mao-Maram a growth rate of 143.14 percent and Paomata a growth rate of 122.64 percent, which are way higher than the 21.5 percent growth recorded all over the country and the 30.02 percent growth recorded for the whole State of Manipur.
Significantly the ‘abnormally’ recorded growth rate would not have kicked up such a stand off if it had not been linked to delimitation. It is on the basis of population growth that delimitation comes into effect which literally means that boundaries of Assembly and Lok Sabha Constituencies are freshly drawn and this is where the stand off emerges. Delimitation on the basis of the 2001 census would invariably mean the redrawing of some Assembly Constituencies and in the context of Manipur it could mean that the valley area, which has 40 seats in the House of 60, could end up ceding some seats which can go to the hills which are reserved for the Scheduled Tribes. Basically this is at the core of the stand off and like it or not, the census figure of 2001 in some pockets of the hill areas could have been designed only by someone with a far sighted vision and this is something which should be acknowledged and noted, whether one agrees or disagrees with it. Explore whatever avenues are there to give better representations to the hill people, seems to be the rationale behind this move and if at all the delimitation process proceeds on the basis of the 2001 census then this plan would have yielded the desired result. For Manipur too, readjustment of the Assembly seats is not exactly bifurcating the State or compromising with its territorial integrity and such a line may go down well with New Delhi. This is a point which everyone should be aware of.