NPP : Adopt the wait and watch strategy
Ahead of the by elections
From walking out of the coalition Government, to returning, to first sticking the hard line, ‘if anyone of us is dropped, then all the four MLAs will walk out of the coalition Government,’ to now being asked to adopt the ‘wait and watch’ strategy, the NPP in Manipur seems to know how to grab prime spot. The only drawback being they are in the news for all the possible wrong reasons. The ‘all four MLAs will walk out,’ line was adopted before the Ministry reshuffle and before two NPP Ministers were dropped and now that not one but two have been dropped, the line they have adopted is ‘wait and watch’ . Nothing wrong with the ‘wait and watch’ line, but this is a far departure from the earlier tough stand adopted and one is left wondering whether the NPP was just blowing hot air for effect. No one knows whether there was any pre-alliance pact between the partners in the BJP led coalition Government but what everyone knows is that all the four NPP MLAs were in the Council of Ministers and this is something which would have struck the other major partner in Government-the NPF which had just one in the Council of Ministers with the other one added not so long back to make it two out of four MLAs in the Ministry. What exactly would the line ‘wait and watch’ entail will only be known after some time but one wonders whether the failure to strike up a pre-poll pact between the BJP and the NPP in the run up to the by elections could be one major factor for the new development. That two Ministers of the NPP have been dropped from the Ministry is bad enough for the party, but making it worse is their flip-flop stand on the matter.
Whether the Ministry reshuffle will have an impact on the coming by elections in some Assembly Constituencies or not is best left for time to tell, but it stands that if the NPP decides to put up candidates as announced earlier, then Manipur can expect to see verbal fire works going three ways, amongst the BJP, Congress and the NPP. With the NPP obviously reeling under the fact that two of its Ministers have been dropped, one can expect it to go on the offensive against its partner in Government and how the BJP replies will be interesting to watch. This is where terms such as ‘friendly fight’ will be reduced to something of a joke and will make the by elections more than a fight between the BJP and the Congress. The script then seems set for a three way fight and the ACs where the by polls will be held can expect interesting days ahead, despite the need to keep things low key due to the coronavirus pandemic. It would also be interesting to see how things develop if the NPP do decide to walk out of the coalition led by the BJP. In the event of such a scenario developing then the coming by elections will be all that more intense, given that many see this as some sort of a semi-final before the State Assembly goes to polls in 2022. NPP versus BJP versus Congress and the political situation certainly looks interesting and one can expect reporters from other parts of the country to rush to Imphal to get a first hand account, for it would be more than a by election, but a warm up for the real match in 2022.