Out O Henry, in Y Erabot
Eyes on Wangkhei AC
It has not exactly queered the pitch but it has thrown open a totally new equation, which must have sent some keen political observers scrambling back to their ‘study room.’ If at all the 11th Assembly is remembered down the line, say in maybe another 20 years or so, it would obviously be for the manner in which two elected representatives of the people have been sent packing by the High Court of Manipur. As things have turned out, Y Surchandra from Kakching Assembly Constituency is not the first man to be sent packing from the Assembly with Okram Henry turning out to be the second person to be disqualified from the Assembly. It stands that Okram Henry had earlier resigned from the Assembly and the pronouncement of the High Court to declare his election in the 2017 Assembly elections may not have much bearing on his status vis-a-vis the Assembly, but it should be noted that there is a gulf of difference between voluntarily giving up one’s seat in the Assembly and being told to pack up. This is what the High Court of Manipur has done and now instead of a by election, Wangkhei Assembly Constituency will see veteran Y Erabot as the new MLA representing it on the floor of the Assembly. MLA for less than a year, that is what Y Erabot will be in the 11th Assembly but the interesting point is how the grand entry of the veteran political leader to the august hall of the Assembly will impact on Wangkhei Assembly Constituency when election is held in the early part of 2022. And to be sure the return of the veteran will have thrown open a totally new equation and how the different political parties, especially the BJP, the Congress and to some extent the NPP respond to the developing situation will make things all that more interesting in the coming Assembly elections. One significant ruling of the High Court of Manipur has ensured that Wangkhei Assembly Constituency will emerge as a must watch Constituency when Manipur goes for Assembly polls in the early part of 2022.
Y Erabot is the BJP MLA in the Assembly. Okram Henry was with the Congress, before switching side to the BJP and then later resigning from the Congress and then the Assembly. The fact that he cross voted and backed BJP nominee Leishemba Sanajaoba during the Rajya Sabha election is something which has been publicly acknowledged by Chief Minister N Biren and this will most probably go down well with the BJP leadership, which is wedded to the slogan of Congress Mukt. A veteran that he is, Y Erabot is an octogenerian and he was among the more prominent political faces from Manipur to first leave the Congress and join hands with the BJP, much like Chief Minister N Biren. This again is something which the BJP leadership will feel morally bound not to overlook. On the other hand, it will now be interesting to see how other intending candidates, particularly those who have set their eyes on contesting from the Congress, adapt their electioneering strategy to fall in line with the changing political equation in Wangkhei Assembly Constituency. The last word is yet to be said but it stands that while Okram Henry did get the majority vote in the last hustings in the 2017 Assembly elections, he has been shown the door by the High Court of Manipur and this is something which will be picked by his opponents in the run up to the 2022 Assembly elections. Another equally interesting point would be to see how Y Erabot manages to meet the zeal and mental and physical stamina of his younger opponents and whether this will convince the top BJP leadership to back him when the moment of reckoning comes.