Politics surrounding the call for ADC polls
One bandh averted and possibly further course of agitation too. The BJP led Government at Imphal seems to know how to deal with crisis such as this but it should not be forgotten that the core of the issue has not been addressed as yet. Granted the State Government has already asserted that an agreement with the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) and Demand Committee for Creation of ADCs, has been reached that election to the ADCs would be held on June 25 or earlier, but importantly ATSUM has staunchly refuted that such an agreement has been inked. That yet another meeting has been lined up on the question of when to conduct the ADC elections should more than say that the very question of elections to the ADCs is yet to be satisfactorily addressed. This is where it can get interesting. Government wittingly or unwittingly unable to conduct elections to the ADCs, agreement reached that elections to the ADCs would be held but not yet translated into action, ATSUM seeing red and going ahead with its lockdown agitation after some of its leaders were arrested, the Demand Committee for Creation of ADCs suddenly emerging from nowhere and pitching in that if at all ADC elections are to be held then it should also be held for the newly created districts of Noney, Pherzawl, Tengnoupal and Kamjong. How the Government manages to draw the map of the new districts created at the fag end of 2016 and constitute the ADCs remains to be seen, but it stands that the Demand Committee for Creation of ADCs has certainly managed to bowl a googly, threatening to upset the stand and demand of ATSUM. The politics being staged on the demand for ADC elections is certainly getting interesting and this was best seen in the stand taken by some organisations against the call of ATSUM.
So while the Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong extended its full support to the call rung out by ATSUM at Ukhrul and Kamjong districts with the Kuki Students’ Organisation, Sadar Hills and Tengnoupal following suit at Kangpokpi and Moreh along with the Senapati District Students’ Association at Senapati district headquarters, the Rongmei Naga Students’ Organisation bluntly asked ATSUM to stay away from Noney and Tamenglong. The Thadou Students’ Association also took a stand against the move of ATSUM and this is where the politics of pitching one voluntary organisation against the other becomes clear and it would be interesting to see if this can have a lasting impact and go to an extent to weaken the muscle power of ATSUM. The question is whether ATSUM will have the political guile and the far sightedness to blunt the politics of ‘divide’ that is staring it on the face at this critical juncture. The emergence of the Demand Committee for Creation of ADCs has certainly added that extra dose of masala to the whole thing and one wonders whether the Committee will disappear once the issue is settled or whether it will morph into a different avatar. The point however is, a pressure group has been created and one wonders whether this pressure group is there for the long run or not. This is certainly one off shoot of the demand raised by ATSUM to conduct the elections at the grassroots level in the hill districts and one wonders whether there will ever be an answer to the question, ‘whose brainchild is it’ ?