Choosing candidate the first step Ahead of Assembly polls
As the party in power at New Delhi and Imphal as well, the BJP is the party to watch out for when Manipur goes to polls in the early part of next year. Nothing surprising for this has been the trend in Manipur for years and it is precisely because of this that there is the widely held belief that whichever party is in power at New Delhi stands more than a good chance to come to power here at Imphal. The present BJP led Government here which came to power after the 2017 Assembly election is a point in case. That it could manage to muster up enough support from some other political parties such as the Naga People’s Front (four MLAs), the National People’s Party (4 MLAs), one Independent and some rogue Congress MLAs ultimately saw it beat the Congress in the race to power despite it winning only 21 seats as compared to the 28 bagged by the Congress. This was about what happened after the 2017 Assembly elections and since then the equation has changed dramatically and the interesting question is whether the coming Assembly election will be a closely fought affair or somewhat of a cake walk for the BJP. Only time can tell, but it is significant to note that Chief Minister N Biren has been talking about the BJP forming the Government alone, sans the support of any other political parties. How things will proceed is something which only time can tell, but the stand of the Chief Minister is an assertion of confidence. The confidence of the Chief Minister may be seen in the backdrop of some Congress MLAs having switched side to the BJP, most notably Govindas Konthoujam, who is widely seen to be a political strongman. How his entry to the BJP will work in favour of the saffron party remains to be seen, but already a strong message has been rung out by the Central leaders of the BJP and this is something which must have been taken note of by the State leaders of the BJP. And it is precisely this point which president of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee, N Loken pointed out soon after Govindas switched to the BJP.
With so many intending candidates knocking at the doors of the BJP for the party’s ticket ahead of the Assembly elections, the first test for the saffron party will lie in how it goes about with the task of narrowing down its list of candidates. This may prove easier said than done, but half the battle will be won by choosing the right candidate in each of the 60 Assembly seats. The same thing goes for the Congress too and it is this which the people will be watching with interest even as election day comes closer with each passing day. The parameters that either party would adopt to choose its candidates will go a long way in taking the voters along and this is where it is widely believed that the first step in marching towards a win in the election is in choosing the right candidate. Does the State unit of the BJP have it in them to choose the right candidate or will it be an exercise in choosing who can play up to the power centres at Imphal ? Only time can tell, but this is something which the Central leaders of the saffron party must take note of. Same thing goes for the Congress too. The NPP and the NPF too will need to abide by these unwritten code of conduct while choosing their candidates. The election is still months away but already listing the probable candidates of the big two has become an interesting topic for the keen political watchers.