The question : Who will be next CM Acceptability quotient

BJP comfortably home with 32 MLAs in its kitty. Results declared on March 10. Yet even five days after the results, the BJP yet to name who will head the next Government. Not a problem with number and certainly not a problem of dissidence. Yet it should be clear that the saffron party is unable to name anyone as the Chief Minister yet as there is more than one contender for the top post. And it stands that the delay in naming who will be the next Chief Minister has only given grist for talks to do the round. It is amid this scenario that Chief Minister N Biren Singh, the other contender Th Biswajit, Lok Sabha MP RK Ranjan and State unit president of the BJP A Sharda Devi have been summoned to Delhi to settle the leadership question. Diverse views have been aired on the summon and while some have dubbed the summon an ‘interview’ to settle the issue, the other group has preferred the term ‘review’-a final look at the arrangement which has already been decided earlier. Whether it is an ‘interview’ or a ‘review’ will only be known soon, but it is  clear that the Central BJP leadership cannot afford to deal the issue with kid’s gloves. As noted earlier here, the leadership question has already set tongues wagging and clearly even amongst the public one can see two ‘camps’, one preferring to go with the tried and tested-buttressing their stand with the handsome tally of the BJP in the just held Assembly election-and the other calling for a change on the ground that sticking to the earlier arrangement will amount to promoting ‘family’ politics. Both sides may have their own merit, but the interesting question is how close is the Central leadership of the BJP to the ground level politics that is being played out here. And how sincerely are the ground reports submitted to the Central leadership is a question worth raising. It should also be kept in mind that the Central leadership of the BJP may not look at the issue only as a Manipur centric issue, and may look at it from the larger perspective, such as the coming Assembly election at Meghalaya, its ties with political parties in other States especially with the Lok Sabha election just two years away. The decision may be taken on the line of just how acceptable is the man to the other political parties with which the BJP sups together.
This is where the statements of support given by other political parties become important. This is where the importance of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) emerges. Just how acceptable is the face that the Central BJP leadership decides on to the other political parties is an unavoidable question, for the saffron party will always need to look to the next Lok Sabha election. And it is always better to have friends than adversaries during such a critical juncture and spadework needs to be taken up well ahead of time. Government formation and the decision on who should be the next Chief Minister may just be one of the few important steps the BJP may need to take ahead of the next Parliamentary election, even though it is still two years away. Talk about the next Lok Sabha election and this is where the letter of support issued by the JD (U) becomes important, for Bihar where the JD (U) is based gets to send 54 MPs to the Lok Sabha and surely the BJP would want a man who is amenable to the JD (U). These are all probable factors which the Central leadership of the BJP must have studied too and it should be kept in mind that any decision that the saffron party takes will be done so with a vision, a look at the long run.