Seeking to set house in order
Show cause notice
Seeking to set its house in order and this is something expected from the oldest political party, especially after the drubbing it received at the hands of the BJP and its allies in the recently held election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat. Politics can certainly throw up strange bed fellows and the alleged cross voting by Wangkhei Assembly Constituency MLA Okram Henry during the Rajya Sabha voting fits this bill to the T. As for the Sagolband AC MLA, the alleged switching of allegiance at a crucial moment may not exactly fit the understanding of ‘strange bed fellows’ for ‘in-laws’ ties can be overwhelming and it can easily ride over sentimental values such as long family ties with a political party, which in this case is the Congress. And it was in line with the alleged cross voting that Manipur witnessed the said two MLAs accompanying the Chief Minister on a chartered flight to New Delhi on June 30. Or was it a tryst with power or the itch to be a part of the power players that the said two MLAs allegedly cross voted and took a chartered flight to New Delhi in the august company of the Chief Minister ? Now with the Congress having served the open show cause notice on the two MLAs, the honeymoon which started with the alleged cross voting does not look like it will end with the chartered flight to New Delhi for looming behind the show cause notice is the provision of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution or the anti-defection law. Things are certainly looking interesting for apart from the Congress cracking the 10th Schedule whip, one can hear the internal rumblings within the BJP best exemplified by the recent visit to New Delhi by four out of the five BJP Ministers, the visit of the two Central observers and obviously the growing COVID-19 cases in the State.
Not yet clear how the two MLAs would respond to the show cause served on them, but significant to note that the Congress party also went ahead and had the show cause notice published on the front page of some of the major newspapers in Imphal. A public stand has been taken, and significant to note that in the process of publishing the show cause notice in some newspapers, the Congress has also demonstrated to the public where they stand vis-a-vis the alleged conduct of its two men. The new development would not have gone unnoticed to the BJP and its allies and one may expect the party leading the coalition Government to conjure up some formula from behind the scene which may work to the advantage of the two MLAs. Afterall the BJP will feel indebted to them for bailing them out at such a crucial moment as ensuring the victory for its Rajya Sabha nominee. It is also obvious that the Congress is intent on sending out the point that it will not tolerate recalcitrant members and will crack the whip when needed but the interesting question is whether cracking the whip will begin and end at the stage of publishing front page show cause notices or go beyond. The coming days will be politically interesting and what will make the unfolding scenario all that more interesting is to watch how the script pans out and much will depend on how the plot is scripted behind closed doors.