Wangjing Tentha, Lilong : Whistle blown
Some important posers
As expected the Election Commission of India has blown the whistle and first off the block are Lilong and Wangjing Tentha Assembly Constituencies. At the moment, Manipur has 13 Assembly Constituencies without an MLA, though this has not stopped the BJP led Government at Imphal from going ahead and naming two personalities who are no longer MLAs as Ministers. Making this all that more ‘exciting’ is the fact that these two former MLAs but now Ministers have both come from the Congress. The inclusion of the two personalities in the Council of Ministers, the ex-MLAs who will be in the fray, the dropping of six from the Council of Ministers, the on and off stand of the NPP whose two Ministers were dropped etc are all recipes which together can go to have a sort of a multiplying effect on the coming by elections. All ingredients to add to the ‘edge of the seat‘ excitement potentials of the coming by elections. The by elections schedule in two Assembly Constituencies from the Election Commission of India must have surely galvanised the two principal political parties, the Congress and the BJP to put their best foot forward and the days ahead can only get more interesting once the schedule of the Assembly Constituencies from where the recently named two Ministers who are ex-Congress MLAs are announced. To be sure the Ministerial berths given to the two party hoppers are ‘rewards’ for the ‘loyalty’ shown to the BJP led Government particularly at the time when election was held to elect the lone Rajya Sabha MP some time back. The important question however is, whether the ‘loyalty’ shown to the BJP led Government at that crucial moment and the trappings of being Ministers will cut ice with the people who will actually vote or not.
Only about 18 months to go for the next Assembly elections in 2022, but to the BJP and the Congress, the by elections will be of utmost importance. To many of the keen political observers too, the by elections will be seen as some sort of a semi-final before the big final in 2022 and this is where one can expect the two principal political parties to put their best foot forward. It is also important for the voters of the Assembly Constituencies which will go to by polls, to realise that the vote they cast can have an impact on how elected representatives behave. Ideally the by election should be seen as some sort of a referendum on the conduct of the ex-MLAs. Did they do the right thing in resigning from their seat, jump ship and then come back to the people seeking their vote or did they betray the trust reposed in them by the voters for the next full five years, is a question that should be foremost on the minds of the people. The schedule for the by elections in the other vacant seats may be announced in the coming days and one may expect the attention of the people and the State Government to turn to the by polls. However it should not be forgotten that the number of COVID-19 infection is increasing each day, with the number crossing the 200 mark daily in the last few days with the death toll too increasing and this fact can only be overlooked at the peril of everyone.