Taking a look at the issues in 2012, 2017 How about 2022 ?
The Congress back then took an open stand and this is the reason why its presence in the Naga dominated districts of Manipur gradually and quickly withered away, best demonstrated in the 2012 Assembly election. To get a better understanding of the stand of the Congress back then, just rewind to 2010 when the then Congress Government in Imphal went against the instruction of New Delhi, which was also under the Congress, and spared no efforts to stop the plan of Thuingaleng Muivah to visit his birthplace at Somdal village, which was then in Ukhrul district. The purported stand of the Congress back then and even now is that it will not give leeway to any attempts that may sow the seeds for the disintegration of Manipur as a geo-political entity and whether one shares the viewpoint of the Congress or not, this gave it rich returns at the polls, best demonstrated by its stupendous showing in the 2012 Assembly election when it won 42 seats out of the 60 seats which went to polls. So total was the hold of the Congress back then that the only effective Opposition was the Naga People’s Front and it was with a reason why many saw Nephiu Rio, when he was with the NPF, as the sole star campaigner. Fast forward to 2016 from 2010 and the Congress again appeared to pull out yet another ace when it announced the creation of 7 new districts including Kangpokpi in lieu of Sadar Hills district in December 2016 just a few months ahead of the 2017 Assembly election. Just as in 2010 ahead of the 2012 Assembly election, none from the Congress linked the districts creation with the looming Assembly election of 2017 but this did not stop anyone from linking it to the election. That the Congress fell short of the magical mark of 31 seats with 28 is another matter but it showed that it can whip up issues just before elections.
The Sangai Express has gone back to the last 10 years to demonstrate how issues can be woven into the election narratives of different political parties and with the next Assembly elections fast approaching one wonders what issues will the two principal political parties whip up to make them election issues. More importantly how are the different civil society organisations working up their agenda to make them count for the coming election. Being the party in power at that time, one can recall how the Congress managed to whip up issues to make them central to the Assembly elections of 2012 and 2017. This is where it becomes interesting to question what issues will the BJP bank on to woo the voters. A party with a difference, is a slogan that has been championed, but how does the BJP intend to translate this slogan into a vote catching tune ? The Inner Line Permit System is there for sure, but will this hold any novelty when election is held in the early part of 2022 ? If voices and stand echoed by different civil society organisations could take the ‘territorial integrity’ call to be a rallying point from which the Congress took maximum advantage, what other calls can there be to make them feature prominently in the coming Assembly election ? This is a question which the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur and World Meetei Convention, should seriously mull over to see if they can propel the ST demand for the Meiteis/Meeteis to be a core component for the major political parties in the State.