Rolling up sleeves ahead of Assembly polls Interesting days ahead
Not surprising that the big two, that is the BJP and the Congress, have started rolling up their sleeves for the next Assembly election which is due to be held some time in the early part of next year. Operations 2022 and it is along this line that former Union Minister Jairam Ramesh was in Imphal on a five day visit shortly after he was named the poll observer of the Congress party. So too was the AICC in charge of Manipur Bhakta Charan Das underlining the point that the oldest political party is leaving nothing to chance to stop the roller coaster ride of the BJP and take back Manipur, which it has ruled for the greater period of time ever since Manipur attained Statehood in 1972. The fact that BJP wrested Manipur from the Congress after the latter was in power for three consecutive terms despite the saffron party managing to win only 21 seats to the 28 won by the Congress after the 2017 Assembly elections must still be haunting the minds of the Congress leadership. This is something which the Congress will surely try to whip up in the run up to the elections but it remains to be seen whether this will find enough takers amongst the voters or not. The BJP too has set the ball rolling with the party naming Union Minister for Environment and Forests BhupenderYadavas the man in charge of Manipur. This is apart from the fact that many intending candidates have already started doing the ground work, reaching out to the people and spelling out their stand and vision for the place and people if they are elected. Interesting days and poll talks ahead of the Assembly election has become the staple topic of conversation amongst many who are keen observers of the political developments in the State.
It would be premature to read the tea leaves at the moment, but none can deny that a lot will depend on how the two principal political parties in the country narrow down and finalise their respective list of candidates. As the party in power at Imphal and at New Delhi, many must have lined up for the BJP’s ticket for the hustings. This is where the saffron party will need to minutely study the background and antecedents of all those aspiring for the party’s ticket. The same goes for the Congress but it is more than obvious that there will be more aspiring candidates lining up for the BJP’s blessing. Adding more interest to the coming polls is obviously the fact that though the fight will primarily be between the big two, the prospects of some political parties, such as the Naga People’s Front and the National People’s Party cannot be written off. The two said political parties are allies of the BJP, this much is true but the chances of the BJP going it alone in the polls cannot be written off, especially taking the earlier declaration of Chief Minuster N Biren that the BJP is looking to secure absolute majority all by itself. In other words, working to a position where the saffron party will not need the support of others to form the Government. As for the Congress, it is not yet clear if it can whip up a broad coalition of the Opposition parties to take the fight to the BJP and its partners and it is these uncertainties that can make the run up to the elections all that more interesting. It also remains to be seen if any of the civil society organisations which have been at the forefront espousing one demand or the demand have it in them to convince any of the big two to make their issue central to the Assembly election or not. Just to cite an example, the demand that the Meiteis be included in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution.