Interesting twist to pending ADC elections
Enter the UNC
Interesting twist. Waking up the ghost of protest when the then Congress Government went ahead and announced the creation of seven new districts at the fag end of 2016 and the United Naga Council (UNC) has certainly pulled out a card that could well upset the stand of the Demand Committee on Creation of ADCs. So far the UNC has been remaining aloof from the ongoing tug of war between the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) and the State Government over conducting the ADC elections in the hill districts of Manipur. Things took an interesting turn when the Demand Committee on Creation of ADCs pitched in and raised the stand that ADC elections too should be held in the newly created districts of Kamjong, Tengnoupal, Noney and Pherzawl. The State Government seemed to go along with the stand of the Demand Committee, when it announced that notifications for the ADC elections including the said four new districts would be announced by May 5. ATSUM too was taken in by the latest assurance of the Government and everything seemed to have been ironed out, that is until the moment UNC barged into the scene and made it known that no steps to ‘legalise the new districts in Naga areas’ would be allowed. The strength of the UNC stems from the fact that it has still not yet recognised the creation of the new districts in what they have termed Naga areas and it is in line with this that the tripartite talks, involving the State Government, the UNC and the Centre have been going on after the BJP led Government came to power at Imphal in 2017. The argument of the UNC is simple. How can the ADC election be held in these contested districts ? Holding ADC elections at these districts would amount to legalising the districts creation, is the stand of the UNC. Clearly the ghost of the the seven new districts created in 2016 is yet to be exorcised.
It remains to be seen how things will unfold in the coming days, but how will the stand of the UNC impact on the proposed ADC elections ? Will this mean that the State Government will need to take another relook at the decision to hold ADC elections in the newly created districts or will it mean withholding the ADC elections for some more time ? What will be the response of ATSUM to the new development ? Clearly the politics being played out around the question of holding the next ADC elections is getting more and more ‘intriguing’. The UNC has not stated when the ADC elections ought to be held, and unsaid but loud in its stand is the point that it has nothing against holding elections in the other hill districts. ATSUM too had not said anything on whether elections to the newly created districts should be held or not and this is where the position of the Demand Committee for Creation of ADCs would be interesting to observe. The crux of the debate this time around would not be so much on the decision to create the new districts, but on whether the Government is right in deciding that the ADC elections too should be held in the newly created districts even as the tripartite talks on the issue is underway.