The other parties too matter The NPP and NPF
The big fight will obviously be between the BJP and the Congress but there can and will be some heavy weight players by the side. To the credit of the BJP, it has been able to take along the other possible heavy weights and go ahead with Government formation. Something which the Congress never learnt or refused to learn during its long term in office here. First the oldest political party did not believe in coalition partners, best exemplified by its decision to merge the others into its fold, much like the erstwhile Manipur State Congress Party (MSCP). This is where due credit ought to be given to the lone Lok Janshakti Party MLA Karam Shyam who just refused to jump ship and join the then mammoth Congress party. This is a point which everyone, starting from the voters to the BJP top leadership should acknowledge. Karam Shyam reminds one of his predecessor, Okram Joy, who was then known as Opposition Joy of the MPP. That Joy sang a totally different tune not so long ago is a different ball game, but in K Shyam Manipur has a man who seems to be wedded to a principle, a quality which cannot be found found in many, particularly those who jumped ship without much ado. The current Assembly is one glaring example and no one will know this better than Chief Minister N Biren himself. The BJP has gone ahead and claimed that it would secure absolute majority on its own and implicit in this is the point that it would not need to rely on its coalition partners, notably the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Naga People’s Front (NPF) to form the next Government. This is where things can get interesting. Would the BJP be able to form a Government on its own ? What is the principle of the BJP ? Even after winning absolute majority on its own in the 2019 Lok Sabha election, Narendra Modi and the top leadership of the saffron party considered it wiser to stick to the NDA model. Does the claim of Chief Minister N Biren and his deputy cut ice with the principle of the BJP at New Delhi ? This is a question worth raising.
Apart from the NPF, whose writ runs large in the hill districts, particularly in the Naga dominated districts, the NPP could just become the dark horse. Already many intending candidates have decided to settle for the NPP and this is where things can get interesting. Too early to say, but some of the intending candidates have already made it clear that they would be contesting the election and in the process give a tough fight to the BJP candidate. The question is, how seriously has Chief Minister N Biren and his deputies given thoughts to this angle ? Other than the BJP, the NPP is the party to watch out for in the coming election. As noted earlier here, in the hills, dominated by the Nagas, the NPP would not be a push over, since they are aligned with the BJP and hence does not have to run into any formidable wall. The Congress in the Naga dominated hill districts will find it harder now than 2017. Everyone knows the story, particularly the BJP led Government and this is where questions may well be raised on the understanding of a free and fair election. The NPP and the NPF would be two crucial parties in the coming election and this means that it would not exactly mean a countdown between the Congress and the BJP alone. The other parties too matter.