In the face of a hung Assembly The CM question

The confidence is remarkable. Even before the first vote has been cast, the BJP has gone ahead and announced that the next Chief Minister of Manipur will be decided by its Parliamentary Board after the election. This was perfectly in line with the grand prognosis offered by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav that the saffron party will form the next Government with an absolute majority while addressing the media at Imphal on February 8. One wonders how this would have gone down with the NPP and the other constituent partners, the NPF and JD (U). Apart from the bold declaration, what would have been of interest not only to the State unit of the BJP and other political parties is the point that the next Chief Minister would be decided by the Parliamentary Board after the Assembly election, which in essence meant that the BJP is keeping its options wide open. Much like the Assam Assembly election of 2021 when the saffron party too did not project anyone as the Chief Ministerial candidate. Remains to be seen how such an approach would go down with the people here, especially the people who are registered voters and who will be lining up outside the polling booth on February 27 and March 3. The decision of the BJP leadership not to project anyone as the Chief Ministerial candidate will obviously have different meanings to different people and it will be interesting to see how things unfold once the results are announced and the ‘BJP is poised to form the Government.’ Will there be a mad rush for the chair of the Chief Minister, or will it be something done without much fuss ? This is a question which only those in the party hierarchy can answer, but already the public announcement of Bhupender Yadav would have piqued the interests of the people. The public announcement would have also piqued the interests of the other political parties, especially the parties which are likely to go along with the BJP after the election and much will depend on how well the next chosen person is taken by the constituent partners. This point will be all that more important if the election throws up a hung Assembly, with no party securing the majority on its own. And as things stand today, a hung Assembly is the most likely and this is precisely the reason why so much importance has been given to the other parties such as the NPP, NPF and JD (U).
In such a likely scenario, where does the Congress stand ? True it has already stitched up a pre-poll pact with Left parties namely the CPI, CPI (M) and Forward Bloc and the JD (S) but the fact is, the Left parties are today no longer a force it once was in some of its pocket boroughs, where it had loyal cadres who stuck by the ideology and slogans of the Left. Will it be in a position to strike up post poll alliances, with any of the other political parties which have the potential to send some representatives to the Assembly, such as the NPP, NPF and the JD (U) ? Only time can tell, but looking at the NDA model at New Delhi this may amount to expecting too much. As for the NPF, which purportedly stands for the interests of the Naga people, the ongoing peace process between the Naga rebel groups, particularly the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India, which is under the BJP led NDA Government, can be a factor which cannot be simply brushed aside. There must be a reason why the BJP has not struck pre-poll alliances with any other political party, and one just has to look at the composition of the BJP led NDA Government at New Delhi to get a better understanding of this political reality. It is this tie up at New Delhi, which probably has led to some parties suddenly ‘gaining acceptability’ among quite a large number of people in Manipur. This is why it would be foolhardy to brush off the possibility of Patna, Kohima, Shillong, apart from New Delhi having a big and significant say in the next Government formation here at Imphal.