Wanted : A strong Opposition Check and balance

Power sharing. This obviously is the mantra in the long queue that one sees in front of the JD (U), NPP, NPF and to an extent Republican Party of India (Athawale) and while there is nothing much surprising about this, what stands out is obviously the seeming lack of interest in the Congress amongst the wannabe candidates. To those who have kept themselves abreast of political developments at Delhi and Imphal, such a political reality should not come as too big a surprise, for the just named political parties are all partners of the BJP led Government at Delhi and closer home in the North East, the NPP is a major constituent of the North East Democratic Alliance, a conglomerate of non-Congress parties which have all come together under the common slogan ‘Congress Mukt’. And by extension one may add that the larger interests of the people at the moment seem to centre on which party or which alliance led by the BJP is most likely to form the Government after the Assembly election. There is a lesson to be learnt here. Even though the BJP was in a position to form the Government by itself at Delhi after the 2019 Lok Sabha election, it preferred to go along with its constituent partners, and the ties within the NDA Government at New Delhi is bound to have a telling impact here at Imphal too. This is one reason why the named political parties have managed to generate so much interest amongst the people and when one talks about the coming election, it is today no longer just about the Big Two-BJP and Congress-but how well placed are the other parties and this is what has added that much more masala to the forthcoming Assembly polls. For a party which won 42 seats in the 2012 Assembly election, the gradual decline of the Congress has been significant. The question is whether  such a situation is healthy for democracy and by extent Manipur ? True the most significant question doing the round right now is which party is better placed to head the next Government, but left unsaid but which is of crucial importance to the people and democracy is whether Manipur will see a strong Opposition after the Assembly election.
This is a question which only the political parties can and should answer, but absence or presence of a strong Opposition is something which will be felt and experienced by the people. In the initial period, that is after the Assembly election of 2017, the Congress did seem to live up to its role as an effective Opposition but down the line, with more and more Congressmen deserting the party, it lost its sting and the capability to take the fight to the Government. This is something which was acutely felt and the lesson that ought to be learnt here is that the place and people need not only a strong Government but also a strong Opposition which can and should act as the eyes and ears of the people. How effective or conscientious will the next Government be will depend to a large extent on how effective the Opposition is. The Congress failed to live up to its initial days of sitting on the Opposition and Manipur still has not had the opportunity to see the BJP as the major Opposition party in the Assembly. The other parties, that is the NPF, NPP, JD (U) etc seem to be more keen on studying which party to sup with and be a part of the power structure and in such a situation the question remains whether Manipur will see the emergence of a strong and effective Opposition or not. The Opposition is the inbuilt mechanism in a democracy to act as the check and balance to the ruling party and this is a point which all the candidates and political parties should come to terms with. Not in power ? Fine but be an effective Opposition is the bottomline.