Where will ST demand stand in next election ?
Take it to the voters
Still one year away, but if the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur (STDCM), World Meetei Convention (WMC) and others who share the same ideas and thoughts have a sense of timing, then this is perhaps the time for them to gear up in such a way that the demand that the Meities be included in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution of India becomes an important political issue before the State goes for Assembly elections in 2022. It is not the case of The Sangai Express to say whether the ST demand for the Meiteis is justified or not, but if the STDCM, WMC and others which have a similar wave length are serious about their demand, then no stones should be left unturned to make the ST demand feature prominently in the agenda of the different political parties in 2022. The important question is whether the champions of the ST demand have it in them to take the different political parties along with their idea and make this a part of a poll issue. Only time can tell, but it should also be kept in mind that the more vocal the ST demand becomes, the more vocal will there be the voices which are against this demand. And the opposition will come not only from the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur but also from amongst the Meitei community and this is where it will be interesting to see where the people actually stand. If the different political parties come under the impression that the ST demand can sway how the voters behave then there is every reason to believe that this demand can become a key point in the run up to the election. Still one year away, but then this is the right time to give a renewed thrust to the voice. Let the demand become more audible and let the voices of opposition too become more vocal and this is where the ultimate test of the legitimacy of either side may be tested when the State goes to polls. In many ways this then would be asking the people to vote on whether they are for the ST demand for the Meiteis or whether they are against such a proposal. Let the result of the 2022 Assembly elections reflect this.
Assam goes for a three phased Assembly elections starting from March 27 this year and as many pundits have predicted, the ST status demand for six communities, namely Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom, Moran, Matak, Chutia and Tea Tribes, will be an important factor in the poll campaign of the different political parties there. The importance here should not be seen only through the prism of the demand raised, but also on the voices of opposition that have been raised from some quarters there. This is where it will become interesting to see how the different political parties, notably the BJP and the Congress handle this issue. It will be the same here in Manipur, if the champions of the ST for Meiteis demand and those against it can make the issue an important factor in the run up to the Assembly elections here. Perhaps this is also the right time to start asking the different political parties, particularly the two principal parties, the BJP and the Congress on where they stand. It will also be interesting to see where some of the current BJP political leaders stand on the demand, for example the Rajya Sabha MP, Leishemba Sanajaoba. Time to take the issue to the people and election is obviously the best medium via which the stand of the people can be known. Let STDCM, WMC and others which share their line of thoughts pull up their sleeves to make the ST demand a key component in the next Assembly elections and let those who are against the demand also come up with their stand so that the people can decide clearly.