Offensive against party hopping
No one is a holy cow here
CLP leader and former Chief Minister of Manipur O Ibobi Singh has every reason to feel peeved. The former Chief Minister hit the nail on the head in observing that MLAs who switch sides midway through are in effect betraying the trust reposed in them by the voters when they were backed in the last Assembly election. It is also significant to note that the former Chief Minister made this observation while welcoming former MLA and former vice president of the State BJP Salam Joy and seven others to the fold of the Congress. Everyone knows under what circumstances Salam Joy made the switch to the Congress. In another word, it was the decision of the State BJP to open the doors of the party to former Congress MLA O Lukhoi that constrained Salam Joy to leave the BJP and join the Congress. With Lukhoi all set to be sworn in as a Minister in the BJP led Government ahead of the by elections, it is more than obvious that the BJP ticket will go to him dashing the aspirations and hope of the former BJP vice president and both belong to Wangoi Assembly Constituency. The best way forward for Salam Joy is obviously to switch side while there is still time and the Congress seems to be the only political party in Manipur which can give the BJP a run for its money. So settling for the ‘second best’ should not come as too much of a surprise. Chief Minister N Biren has obviously learnt the trade of engineering defects and switching sides but important to note that all these party hopping and switching sides business goes against the basic understanding of principles and respecting the verdict of the people. The voters of Wangoi Assembly Constituency obviously did not give their mandate to O Lukhoi to serve as the MLA for only three and a half years. Their verdict was for full five years and Lukhoi received that as a Congressman and not as a BJP candidate.
In politics anything goes and this is all about politics, is one line that may be used to justify the acrobatics that some of the elected representatives have been indulging in with much fanfare but there is nothing pleasant about this. O Ibobi has every reason to feel peeved but then again remember the Congress is not actually free from the game of engineering splits and defections. Recap to the years before the BJP came to power here. In the 2012 Assembly elections, the Congress did remarkably well capturing 42 out of the 60 seats in the Assembly. It was an absolute majority and it was in a position to form the Government on its own. No threat to its stability, but this did not stop the Congress from poaching on the other smaller parties and one can still remember how the final burial was given to the MSCP when its five MLAs merged with the Congress. Not exactly a split in the Assembly, but if this was not encouraging party hopping then what is the term that one may use ? This is where the difference emerges. The BJP led Government cannot form the Government on its own and it needs the support of its allies to remain in power and this is where one may see the need to poach on MLAs from other political parties, and if from the Congress why not, seems to be the logic. This is where one can see everyone rubbishing the understanding of ethics in politics. No one is a holy cow here.