Looking to Ministry expansion Politics of coalition
Principles of coalition politics and the realpolitik of coalition politics. There is a fine dividing line here and one wonders whether going along with just one partner in the present regime can be seen as going in for a coalition Government in the true sense of politics as understood at New Delhi, Bihar and even Nagaland or not. This question is important in the face of the recent announcement by Chief Minister N Biren that the next Ministry expansion will take place soon. Here again it is important to note that nowhere in his interaction with the media did the Chief Minister drop a hint that MLAs of other political parties and Independents who have extended support to the BJP can be included in the next Ministry expansion. With 32 MLAs in the House of 60, the BJP could have easily gone it alone, having secured a simple majority, but the politics in going along with the Naga People’s Front alone is in keeping with the spirit of coalition politics or something else ? Only time can tell, but it is prudent to remember that though the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) emerged the single largest party after the 2020 Bihar Assembly election with 75 seats, it could not assume office as the BJP with 74 seats in partnership with JD (U) which returned 43 managed to steal the thunder from the RJD and Congress (19 seats) combine. And everyone knows who is heading the Government at Bihar as Chief Minister. Keep out the Congress at any cost is the one line message from the BJP and there is no reason to believe why this same line will not be applied in the North East, including Manipur. This is perfectly in line with the Congress Mukt slogan of the BJP. No reason to believe that the larger scheme of things of the BJP cannot be applied here. Only time will tell how the dice will roll and here one will have to wait and see how the BJP led Government at Imphal understands the politics of coalition Government. In as much as the run up to the Assembly election was interesting, with many ‘experts’ giving their viewpoint on how many seats so and so party is expected to win, how the State BJP leadership responds to the call of coalition politics has kicked up enough interests among many keen observers in Manipur.
It was the NPP which unseated the Congress Government after the 2018 Meghalaya Assembly election, though it was the Congress which emerged the single largest party with 21 seats in the 60 member Assembly. It was coalition politics which propelled the NPP to head the Government with 19 MLAs. The number equation for the BJP here in Manipur is different this time as it has secured a simple majority with 32 MLAs, but the question is whether the saffron party here will be ready to abandon the coalition dharma. Remember its presence is felt in Meghalaya and Nagaland, because it has teamed up with the party heading the Government. Tough to say how things will pan out in the coming days, but there must be several factors which the Chief Minister must be taking into consideration while zeroing in on the next 6 MLAs to be inducted in the Council of Ministers. Other than the dharma of coalition politics, the Chief Minister will also have to take into consideration factors such as ACwise allocation. When was the last time Ukhrul Assembly Constituency was represented in the Council of Ministers or Chingai Assembly Constituency ? These are some random questions that come to mind but these are questions which cannot be simply brushed aside for this is all about equitable representation in the corridors of power. The Chief Minister has already said that the next expansion will come soon adding that much more interest on how it will be done.