The MLA without money, a house and car,
If this man’s story was a song I’d go for a hundred encore or even more.
I was in Senapati when the election results were announced. Sadness overwhelmed me as some of the candidates whom I was rooting for walked away with the wooden spoon. But the air of the town was thick with this buzz that this nondescript gentleman who for all his privation and poverty was pitchforked to the pedestal of glory beating political heavy weights on his way to clinch the ultimate price.
As incredible as it sounds I did my bit of fact checking to ascertain its authenticity by calling up friends who were close to him. They all vouched for it.
The election commission might have put a cap on electoral spending but who cares when all the guidelines or strictures that are laid down are observed more in the breach as candidates splurge out crores of rupees to scrape through.
And not to forget the invariable use of muscles, violence, guns and an even communal overtone to ramp up one’s electoral fortune and this is the unhappy state of affairs in our little Moneypur. While the erudite luminaries, the statesman, the committed activists and the intellectuals are shoved to the background for want of money thus making way for the unlettered contractors, the spent force bureaucrats and the riff raffs occupying the helm of our political affairs we all live in this fool’s paradise of a better and prosperous Manipur. Keep dreaming.
Whereas in the hills it’s the militants who are calling the shots and the trend is either propping up their spouses or someone who will be pliant to their wishes. “Even if they propped up their dogs we’ll get them elected,” quipped an acerbic young man.
Rapacious as we are the word morality is collectively thrown to the wind as we wallow and carouse in those inducements provided by the candidates, squeeze him dry of every penny and in the same breath expecting him to be honest when elected. Dream on.
This is why fit and qualified candidates but with a razor thin pocket fails to sit in that August assembly hall at Chingmeirong.
During the hustings I went to assist one MLA who in a jiffy pulled out two bundles of 500 currency note but I told him that my requirement was only ten thousand and so he can keep the rest. I could feel his head reeling.
But here’s a man who broke all traditions and myths associated with election and enacted a real life ‘believe it or not story’ did the unthinkable in spite of his penury, not having a car and a house of his own was catapulted to an MLA, a feat so rare yet of seminal importance for the poor aspiring MLAs to pick a leaf or two from his life story.
A dark horse, a greenhorn yet this unassuming persona against all odds ploughed his way through, a stupendous electoral achievement that will be told for years to come. If there’s a ranking for elected MLAs without an iota of doubt he’ll get the number one position of all the 60s.
This reminds me of a former MLA from Churachandpur district who had won by a massive margin when accosted by the media gasconaded that he won by distinction marks whereas his counterparts won by simple pass. His AC people christened him as ‘the distinction passed MLA’.
The man in question who has so much riveted our attention is none other than Mr Kumo Sha, the present MLA of Karong AC. His journey of life was an odyssey itself.
The hardships and vicissitudes of life was introduced to him at a tender age as he had to walk 36 kms on foot to the nearest bus stop for the sake of education since his village Lakhamai was located in the pristine hinterland tucked away from civilization. The plights and hardships faced by the people of his village and the surrounding area was the most important determinant that motivated him to enter electoral politics.
A committed activist he had rubbed shoulders with powerful organizations and also served them in various capacities. He was the president of the PNTM (Poumai Students’ Union) from 2008-10 and became the president of the All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM) from the year 2010-2013. From 2017-2020 he was the general secretary of the Poumai Naga Union, the apex body of his tribe. (To be contd)