A look at the coming Assembly polls Brief study of the issues
Six months, this is the period left for the present Government and the question is whether the BJP led Government or even a ‘BJP alone’ Government will return to power or not. Can the BJP expect to do what the Congress did for three consecutive terms before the 2017 Assembly elections is an interesting question. Making things all that more interesting is the decision of many veteran Congress leaders, particularly Bishnupur AC strongman Govindas Konthoujam to desert the Congress and sup with the saffron party. This is what has made the run up to the coming Assembly elections all that more interesting. It sure will be a showdown between the BJP and the grand old party of the country, the Congress when Manipur goes to polls in the early part of next year, but what will be the issues which will dictate how the two parties approach the election ? Like in the previous years, there may be no concrete issue around which the election will revolve, but as in the past, everyone must be aware of the Delhi factor on how voters decide to play ball here. The fact that the BJP is in power both at New Delhi and Imphal is a point which will not blow over the head of the people but then again this is one point which some discerning folks may use to put across their point. This is where it would be interesting to see if any of the CSOs would be able to make any of the issues which they have taken up as one of the key issues around which the coming Assembly elections may revolve. The Congress has already done this with their stand on the territorial integrity of Manipur and this yielded them good dividends in the past especially in the 2007 and 2012 Assembly elections. Now what are the issues which CSOs can take up to let them figure prominently in the election slogan of the different political parties, particularly the big two would be interesting to see.
Not all see eye to eye on this, but it certainly would be interesting to see if the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee and the World Meetei Convention can make their ST demand for the Meeteis to be a major poll call for any of the political parties. How about issues such as corruption ? The BJP may gloat itself over the fact that so far no graft charges have been levelled against the Central Government in the last 7 years or so, but is this enough not to take this up as an issue in a place like Manipur ? This is where certain different CSOs can take this up ahead of the election and make it feature prominently in the poll agenda of the different political parties, particularly the Congress and the BJP. How about the question of starting the process of initiating a political dialogue with many of the armed organisations active and operating in Manipur ? The last time when any concrete measure towards this end was taken up was during the brief period that Radhabinod Koijam was the Chief Minister and a one month unilateral ceasefire was announced from the side of the State Government. That this initiative did not elicit any favourable response from the different armed groups is a different thing but this was a beginning and making a beginning is certainly significant. In short, issues which are of interest to the people should be raised now so that they feature in the scheme of things of the different political parties in the run up to the Assembly elections.