Four years in office and looking ahead
Perfect launch pad
To the BJP the moment is the perfect launch pad. Prepare a near perfect report card for the last four years and then kick off the campaigning for the next Assembly elections scheduled for early next year. A perfect opportunity and to be sure the State BJP has left nothing to chance, if one goes by the bill boards, the front page coloured advertisements either half page or full page carried by the newspapers for the last few days, the temporary archways across the roads, the hoardings etc, to highlight what the Government has done for Manipur in the last four years. To be sure this is not a jubilee celebration, but to the BJP it would be something much more for this is the first time that the saffron party is on the cusp of completing one full term in office in Manipur. And it stands that the BJP will obviously not be satisfied with one term in office and with the next Assembly election not far off, celebrating the completion of four years in office may just be the right moment for the party to kick off its campaign. ‘We have done this much in four years. Now give us another term in office and we can do so much more,’ is the unsaid but loudly audible message that one can hear in the publicity drive that the saffron party has launched in the last few days. In N Biren, the BJP has a man who is understood to have experienced the ins and outs of the previous Congress Government and if the Modi Government at New Delhi turned the Look to Act with regard to the East, then the Biren Government here managed to reach out to the hills with the Go to Hills mission. Burying the ghost of 2015 with the bodies of eight of the nine people of Churachandpur finally put to rest in 2017, just after the BJP led Government came to power and earlier ending the over three months economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council over the districts creation issue may have underlined the ‘reaching out to the hills’ posture of the Govt.
Citizen centric governance. This is the tag line given to the four years of the BJP led Government and there will definitely be different takes on this. How tolerant has the Government been of criticism is a question which only it can answer and here again there will be different answers to this poser. In short while the Government has been able to reach out to the hills and in the process do away with serpentine queues in front of fuel outlets and buying filled LPG cylinders from the black markets, there will be others who will not fall short of asserting that it has preferred to clamp down on freely speaking out one’s mind against the Government. This is where the next one year will become crucial. The BJP seems to be riding high at the moment, as exemplified in the recent by elections held in six Assembly Constituencies, but it stands that there is still one year to go and it would not help in going overboard with just completing four years in office. This is true if the BJP is here with a long term vision and does not want to be just a one term wonder. Four years of BJP rule and the next one year can go a long way in deciding whether the people would be amenable to the idea of giving it yet another shot in power. In the last four years, Chief Minister N Biren must have known how it is to head a coalition Govt and the interesting question is whether it will still continue with the coalition, like the BJP led NDA Govt at New Delhi, if it has the needed number or go it alone.