Defiling the line ‘free and fair poll’ Engineering votes

Free and fair poll seems like a line drawn from a fairy tale and superimposed on a troubled place like Manipur all under the cloak of democracy. Nothing can be more unfortunate than this. The decision of the Election Commission to hold repoll in at least  7 polling stations spread across 5 Assembly Constituencies should underline this point. Significant to note that of the 5 Assembly Constituencies where repoll will be held, four Constituencies are in the hill districts. Repoll in five Assembly Constituencies-Wangjing Tentha, Ukhrul, Chingai, Karong and Tadubi and these five ACs do not cover all the places from where the demand for a repoll has been raised, most notably from Wangkhem Assembly Constituency and Tamei Assembly Constituency. Even as the election office has ordered repoll in at least five ACs, video shots of security personnel cracking down on trouble makers have gone viral on the social media. A serious allegation of flagrant violation of poll conduct has also been raised by the Shiv Sena at Henglep Assembly Constituency which voted during the first phase of the election on February 28. Here too picture of an Electronic Voting Machine with its features doctored in such a way that voters cannot press the button of their choice has gone viral on the social media. Ingenious one may add, for the ‘engineering’ that went into blocking the other buttons on the EVM is something that could have been thought up only by ‘geniuses’ who can put the engineering students in some of the finest colleges in the country to shame ! Everything points to a well worked out agenda and this is something which could have been carried out only by people who are well ‘protected’ and herein lies the question before the understanding of ‘power’. Use of brute force it was all about. In fact when video shots of the security personnel cracking down on some who had allegedly tried to interfere with the election process in a hill area went viral on the social media, there were loud cheers from quite a large number of people. A reflection that the people have been bullied and pushed around for too long so much so that they do not even have the choice of voting for the candidate of their choice. Hence the observation that the line, ‘free and fair polls’ seems like a line taken straight out from a fairy tale. 
All indications that the people have been taken for a ride for too long by all the power players. If it is the political class and the babudom which are blamed for the pathetic conditions in which people, especially people in the hills, are condemned to live, it is the armed goons who first took up the guns on behalf of some ‘causes’ today dictating who the people should support. This is where it becomes clear that many of the armed goons take up the gun, not for the causes which they trumpet to gain a certain degree of legitimacy, but to pursue their own vested interest. This is where people need to rise as one to say a big no to such terror tactics. Politicians will employ any means at their disposal to capture power and be in the driving seat and it is the armed groups which can be used to achieve their objective. This should be clear from the allegations raised by the villagers themselves. The votes have been cast and till March 10, the people will have to wait to see which party gets the mandate of the people. On the other hand, if no single party is able to cross the magic figure of 30 seats in the Assembly then the arithmetic that goes into stitching up a coalition Government will turn out to be very interesting. And any post poll partnership that comes about will be done so  keeping the next Lok Sabha election, which is due in 2024, in mind. This much is a certainty.