Pending final pact, ST demand, prohibition etc Issues before the Govt

The pending final pact between the Government of India and the NSCN (IM). The demand raised by the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur that the HAC recommended ADC Bill of 2021 be introduced in the Assembly. The growing demand that the State Government submit the needed recommendations to the Centre that the Meeteis/Meiteis be included in the Scheduled Tribe list of the Constitution of India. The suggestion that it is time for the State Government to seriously study the possibility of rolling back the dry State tag from Manipur and allow sale of liquor. These are some points lying ahead of the BJP led Government at the moment and all these merit the undivided attention of the Government. Granted that New Delhi has on more than occasion made it clear that the territorial boundary of Manipur would not be compromised under any circumstances as a result of the political dialogue with the NSCN (IM), but the crucial question is, what if Thuingaleng Muivah and his men decide to step down from the separate Flag and Constitution demand and instead ask for the unification of all areas which they have identified as Naga inhabited areas under one administrative unit ? This may not be much more than speculation but given the dynamics of the talks and the shrewd personality that Th Muivah is, one cannot take anything for granted and a surprise or two is something that cannot be written off at all. Take fifty paise now instead of the demanded Re 1 could well be a line that can  become more pronounced. Or better still what if some sort of a demand is raised that the administration of the hill areas, particularly the Naga dominated districts, do not come under the State Government and some sort of an autonomy is demanded ? These are all possibilities which the BJP led Government at Imphal should have started studying with the merit they deserve. The ADC Bill of 2021 prepared by the Hill Areas Committee is another point that will need to be tackled and this is definitely not something that can be kept at abeyance for all times to come. How the BJP led Government at Imphal propose to deal with the issue remains to be seen, but it is more than obvious that ATSUM is not at all taken in by the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Bill 2022 and herein lies one of the vexatious issues that confront that BJP led Government here. The BJP led Government has also more than hinted that it is keen to roll back prohibition imposed on Manipur since the early part of the 1990s and how it proposes to go ahead with its stand remains to be seen, especially in the backdrop of the strong opposition raised by some prominent civil society organisations.
With 32 MLAs in its kitty and with the others, excepting the Congress with 5 MLAs and more recently the JD (U) with 7 MLAs,  extending support to the BJP led Government, Chief Minister N Biren is well placed to take tough decisions, decisions that should augur well for the people and the State. How it manages to translate the massive mandate it received at the recent Assembly elections remains to be seen, but with such a verdict going its way, one expects the Government to take tough decisions. Apart from prohibition, the mettle of the Government can be tested on the ST demand point raised by the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur and the World Meetei Council. As repeatedly pointed out in this column, what is it that is stopping the Government from sending the needed recommendations ? Its job is to just send the report and the final say on whether the Meeteis/Meiteis fulfil the criteria to be included in the ST list will be taken by New Delhi and not Imphal. Here it is significant to note that the Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee had made available the copy of the communication from the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs to the State Government back in 2013 to send the needed recommendation that the Meeteis/Meiteis be included in the ST list of the Constitution of India. Nearly ten years down the line and so far not a word on this have been heard from the side of the Government and it is more than right that Imphal spells out her stand on the matter.