Of resignation dramas and disqualifications
20, 15 or 10 years hence
The next Assembly election is still a year away and the interesting question is not so much which party will form the next Government at Imphal or even how effective the present BJP led Government has been, but how people will remember the unfolding series of drama, all revolving around the antics staged by the elected representatives of the people. If at all the current Assembly is recalled say 20, 15 or even 10 years down the line, then definitely it will rest on the premise of how the BJP with 21 initially elected representatives beat the Congress which managed to return figures of 28 MLAs in the Assembly elections held in 2017. The script for what was to come was perhaps laid down the minute results of the 2017 Assembly election started trickling in with the BJP and the Congress running neck to neck, and the latter emerging as the single largest party with 28 MLAs in the House of 60. Horse trading, party jumping came to define the days ahead of the actual swearing in ceremony but it was the BJP which emerged on top, managing to cobble up a coalition Government and helped in no small measures by some elected Congress MLAs. This was followed by the blow hot, blow cold stand adopted by a major coalition of the BJP led Government, the NPP with four MLAs which announced a walk out from the coalition Government just when election to the lone Rajya Sabha seat was to be held. That the NPP MLAs were convinced to return to the BJP coalition Government is another matter, but this will surely go down as one of the highlights of the present Assembly. Top this off with the resignation of three BJP MLAs, not only from the Assembly but also from the party and surely the 11th State Assembly has not been lacking in drama.
Rivals they are but when it came to the resignation drama, the Congress kept the BJP good company with six of its MLAs also resigning from the Assembly and the party with five of them returning as BJP MLAs after the by elections. Calculated resignation, one may say for out of the six Congress MLAs who resigned from the Assembly and the party, four of them were re-elected on the BJP ticket from Wangjing Tentha, Wangoi, Saitu and Singnat. By election to Wangkhei AC is yet to be held. Four other personalities who were elected as Congress candidates were disqualified and by election is yet to be held in three ACs-Andro, Lamlai and Kumbi. On the other hand, Kakching Assembly Constituency which fell vacant after the High Court declared the election of the Congress candidate in the 2017 polls invalid went to the BJP candidate who came a close second. No marathonesque economic blockade, no queues in front of the petrol pumps, no vocal outburst against excesses of the security personnel to mark the 11th Assembly, but as stated earlier, 20, 15 or even 10 years down the line, then the present Assembly will surely be remembered as one marked by resignation dramas and party hopping not making it a dull one by any yardstick. Will the 12th Assembly be any different is a question which will become more and more relevant as Manipur marches towards 2022.