Open declaration of support to one Now eyes on March 10

President of the Manipur unit of Shiv Sena Moirangthem Tombi was bang on target in opining that outfits which are under the Suspension of Operations (SoO) pact with the State and Central Governments had every right in declaring that they would support so and so party in the just held Assembly election but do they have any right in claiming that any person going against their appeal to support the party of their choice would be deemed to be acting against the interest of the Kuki people ? It was on February 25, that the open declaration of the Kuki National Organisation, one of the SoO signatories, was issued, and it is unclear whether any of the media houses located in Imphal carried the open declaration as a news item or not, but The Sangai Express did not carry it. For one it would have gone against the election code of conduct for the line, ‘will be deemed acting against Kuki interest’ and the open endorsement of a particular party ran contrary to the understanding of not ‘influencing’ the voters directly or indirectly. Moreover it could have come under the ambit of paid news. Note the parentheses in the word ‘influencing’ and thereby hangs a tale, a significant tale. It is also of particular interest to note that the allegations of ‘engineering’ the EVM at some polling stations in Henglep Assembly Constituency followed the open declaration issued by the SoO group. The versions put forth by some villagers who were reportedly at the receiving end of some armed men, all pointed towards cadres who belong to outfits under the SoO pact and this is something serious, very serious. The Shiv Sena has not taken the matter lightly, demonstrated by the open statement to the media that the election process has been openly manipulated. Five or ten years down the line and surely the 2022 Assembly election will be talked about how the ‘engineering geniuses’ of some elements were openly demonstrated on some EVMs which were so grotesquely defaced with bamboo chips, tapes etc. Not a good commentary on the election held under the principles of democracy and if at all anyone should be pulled up for making a mockery of the understanding of universal franchise then it would have to be those at the helm of affairs. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely is a line that comes to mind and this is something which should be seen against the violence, the intimidations and the climate of fear reported in some Assembly segments.
The repolls held in a number of polling stations spread across different Assembly Constituencies should underline how free and fair was the just conducted election. Now with election over, all eyes must now be on the outcome of the election, the result of which will start streaming out on March 10. Already a number of agencies and news channels have come out with the findings of the exit polls conducted during the two phased election. The Sangai Express will refrain from adding any more inputs to the speculations, the Maths and the calculations that are being taken up to study how the final results will read, but to be sure it will be interesting. Just how seriously the BJP took the just held Assembly election can be gauged from the visit of an array of BJP leaders, starting from the Prime Minister, the Union Home Minister, Union Defence Minister and other Central leaders. The Congress too had Rahul Gandhi campaigning for the party while NPP National president Conrad Sangma camped here for days campaigning for the party. So too did NPF leaders from Nagaland. It will be a close call in many Assembly Constituencies and among the keen observers the summing up, the calculations and even verbal arguments on how many seats so and so party will bag will continue. The Sangai Express too joins the others in waiting for March 10.