Ahead of the next Assembly pollsEyes on the big two

Fast forward to July in 2022 and Manipur will have a new Government and while it is still too early to say which party will romp home in the next Assembly elections scheduled in the early part of next year, what is clear is that the fight will primarily be between the Big 2-the BJP and the Congress. This is not to say there will be no other players, and if Manipur sees a repeat of the 2017 elections, the importance of other political parties will come into play. In the hill districts dominated by the Naga community, one can expect the Naga People’s Front playing a dominant role and their influence on the outcome of Government formation will then be interesting. That is if Manipur sees a repeat of the 2017 Assembly election results, with no single party emerging the clear winner. One cannot write off the NPP too that easily. Many potential winners, but unable to get the ticket of their choice, whether it is the Congress or the BJP, will make a beeline for the NPP and this is where it will get interesting. As things stand today, the BJP has already set the ball rolling with many interpreting the recent visit of the party’s National general secretary BL Santhosh as a sort of a preparation for the forthcoming Assembly elections. And with a new State unit president in the person of A Sharda Devi, the party’s machinery must have started gearing up for the coming elections, even though there are still some months left for the Assembly elections. The interesting question is, what steps the Congress has taken to meet the juggernaut of the BJP, which has been on a high, winning the by elections in four of the five Assembly elections just last year. What strategy has it got rolled up its sleeves ahead of the next Assembly elections is something that will be interesting to watch in the coming days.
Whatever strategy one takes, it is important to keep in mind that fielding the right candidate will be the first and perhaps the most important step for either party. Half the battle would be won in fielding the right candidate. Being the party in power and with so many lining up for its ticket, the BJP should not have much of a problem in getting the candidates of its choice, but ultimately what will matter is the yardstick used to measure the acceptability of the candidate it chooses to field. The same thing applies to the Congress. Choosing the right candidate is then the first and perhaps the most important step in getting down to the business to going to the people to ask for their vote. Making things all that more interesting would be those who are on the look out to switch sides when the time for reckoning comes and as stated earlier, being the party in power, there must be quite a few who may be eyeing to join the BJP ahead of the next Assembly elections, never mind which political party they presently belong to. The interesting question is, whether the next Assembly elections will mean anything different to the common people or not. Much will depend on how they choose to vote and what exactly they expect from the person they back.