Nothing grand about ‘Grand Old Party’ Five years out of power
It is more than saying no and in many ways reflects the position of the Congress in Manipur today. The decision of the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee to say no to five political personalities, who were earlier elected as Congress MLAs, should not come so much as a surprise and it is only expected of a party which has ruled the State for the greater period of time ever since Manipur became a full fledged State in 1972. And this is where certain things just do not add up or may be it is a reflection of the moral fabric of the men who were once recognised as Honourable MLAs with some even going to be inducted in the Council of Ministers. Here is a party which has given political stalwarts such as Rishang Keishing, RK Dorendra etc to Manipur not to speak of former Chief Minister O Ibobi, who holds the record as the longest serving Chief Minister of the State with 15 years under his belt, to today being reduced to such a whimpering self that it feels constrained to crack the whip and announce that it would not entertain any approach from five former MLAs who had ditched the party to be with the BJP which is in power ! Is it about just five former MLAs or does this reflect the non principled stand of some individuals who go on to don the mantle of honourable elected members of the Assembly ? Either way, it does not cast politicians in any good light and that this reference should be made to former Congress MLAs should say a lot about the political party, which was at one point of time synonymous with the politics of Manipur. If this is the situation that the Congress finds itself in today, then it would be foolhardy to think that the same fate will not befall the other political parties. This is where the State unit of the BJP should ask themselves certain questions, however uncomfortable it may be. The BJP is obviously on a high right now. Apart from successfully remaining in power for a full term (five years), heading a group of political parties, it is the party to watch out for with so many intending candidates having lined up to seek its ticket for the forthcoming Assembly election. The question however is, whether such a situation would have arisen if the BJP had not remained in power at New Delhi. Did the BJP receive the mandate of the people in the 2017 Assembly election ? Would they have been able to cobble up the coalition if New Delhi had not been under the BJP ?
There may be no answer to this in black and white, but this is a point which should not blow over the heads of the BJP led Government. This also a point which the Congress would have digested, for remember it emerged as the single largest party after the 2017 Assembly election with 28 MLAs. The Congress however could not live up to its duty as the Opposition with 28 MLAs in its kitty, and somehow lost its way sitting on the Opposition bench. Obvious that the party which was in power for three consecutive terms could not come to terms with having to sit on the Opposition for one term and this is where it may be said that the long years in power just did not succeed in ‘educating’ its men on what it takes to be Congressmen. The 15 years in power and earlier, just did not seem to have educated many so called Congress leaders on the indispensability of a strong Opposition and it wouldn’t be surprising if more Congressmen switch side to the BJP or other political parties, as Manipur march towards voting day. More than an indication that in all the years it was in power, it was never able to instil its ideology on the very set of people who found a place under the Sun as Congress leaders. Just Congress leaders but not political leaders of the people and the land and this may be said to have led to the present state of the Congress, not only in Manipur but across the country.