Emergence of the ‘other’ pol parties Lining up for JD (U), NPP
Should be obvious to all. Today it is no longer a two cornered fight between the Congress and the BJP and increasingly it has become clear that the parties to watch out for are the ‘others’. All indications that Manipur is most likely to see a hung Assembly with no single political party being in a position to form the Government on its own. Not much different from the 11th Assembly, one may say, but what will make the election to the 12th Assembly all that more interesting is the fact that the BJP has on more than one occasion made it clear that its target is 40 seats and above in the 60 member Assembly. Its partner in Government in the 11th Assembly, the NPP has not been quiet either, with Deputy Chief Minister and its leader Y Joykumar stressing more than once, that no party will secure absolute majority, going to the extent of predicting that no party can repeat the 42 seats performance of the Congress in the 2012 Assembly election ! For effect, the NPP leader had stressed that the party is eyeing to win at least 20 seats. The Maths here is interesting for in between the two partners in Government, the tally would have easily crossed the 60 seat mark, leaving nothing to the other political parties ! Some may dismiss either claim as tall talk being delivered to impress the people, but the fact is, the race to the seat of power after the Assembly election may just be as complicated and interesting as the pre-poll prognosis indulged in by either side. In the hills, particularly the Naga dominated districts it would be foolhardy to dismiss the prospect of the Naga People’s Front (NPF), for here is a party which seems bent on bettering its tally from the 4 in the 11th Assembly. The NPF has already named 10 candidates and more may follow, but what is clear is that the party which has its headquarters at Kohima seems to have mastered the art of ‘winning’ election in places where its sway runs large. Maybe it is keeping this reality in mind that the BJP has more than hinted that its partnership with the NPF will continue after the Assembly election of 2022.
Equally interesting and ‘impressive’ is the manner in which the JD (U), with headquarters at Patna, has been able to capture the imagination of many former wannabe BJP candidates. As things stand, the JD (U) has named 30 candidates for the hustings and there is no indication that this list is final, for more may be named. Making things more impressive is the fact that out of the 30, at least two are sitting MLAs and it has many more former MLAs in the list. Making things more interesting is the fact that most of them were intending BJP candidates and there is every possibility that these candidates can well eat into the vote share of the saffron party. The coming of age of the ‘other’ parties and if not for anything else, then this is what will make the election to the 12th Assembly all that more interesting. With all the major political parties having announced the list of candidates, electioneering too has picked up pace in all the 60 Assembly Constituencies and so too has the number of people infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus. This is what is disturbing and one hopes that this is something which has been taken note of by all the candidates and the different political parties. The reason why the Election Commission of India has extended the ban on election related rallies till February 11 should not be lost on anyone. Let poll activities be carried out with a sense of responsibility for this is what the situation demands. Covid Appropriate Behaviour in public places, should be understood within the realm of election activities too.