Picking up finer nuances of politics Vocal at the right time ?
Formed just in 2022, that is a few months before the Assembly elections in Manipur, the Kuki People’s Alliance made a sort of a dream debut sending two MLAs in the House of 60 after the 2022 hustings. Just a little over a year old, but the KPA seems to have picked up some finer nuances, such as when to make a noise and when to air their grievances. Or maybe one would call it co-incidence, but significant to note that on the day National spokesperson, co-ordinator of North East States and in charge of Manipur, Sambit Patra landed at Imphal to hold a crucial meeting, the KPA sought to go on the offensive against what it has termed, ‘anti-tribal’ policies of the BJP led Government. Obvious that the person being targeted is none other than the Chief Minister and the issues picked by the KPA should throw some light on where political parties stand on issues which are deemed to be crucial to Manipur. Amongst the points listed by the KPA in its ‘anti-tribal policy pursued by the BJP led Government’ charge is the demolition of a 50 year old Church at Checkon, eviction drives inside forests and at Tribal Colony, Checkon and impasse over ST seat reservation at RIMS. A Kuki centric political party, as the name itself suggests and one wonders when the KPA became the ‘spokesperson of the tribal community’ but it surely seems to have sort of mastered the art of knowing when to deliver the blow, a blow which may or may not hit the target. This can be gauged from the fact that apart from the arrival of Sambit Patra, the KPA made known its stand when four BJP MLAs have stepped down from the political posts they were assigned after the 2022 Assembly elections. In talking about the demolition of a 50 year old Church at Checkon, the KPA also talked about the eviction drive at Tribal Colony, which then housed Government quarters allotted, according to it, to the lowest of the low Government employees, as accommodation while being posted in Imphal. The points raised by the KPA appear genuine and any eviction drive means literally driving out the inhabitants from their homes and dwelling places. This is where it becomes important to question how many of those driven out during the eviction drive were actually Government employees ? Can a Government employee be in occupation of a Government quarter or on a Govt land by virtue of being a Government servant for 50 years ? How long is the service tenure of a Government employee ? Or is it a case of the Government employee passing down the quarter to another allottee ? Answers to these posers would be welcome.
Was the Church in question on Government land or did the land belong to any private individual ? Was the Church building initially constructed to be a place of worship or is it a case of a Government quarter being turned into a Church ? Again an answer to this would be highly solicited. The voice of concern aired by the KPA is appreciated and it would have been so much better if only it, as a political party with some clout, had also come out strongly against the large scale poppy cultivation in areas where its presence is strong. What is its stand on the War on Drugs campaign launched by the BJP led Government ? Where does it stand on the call to conduct a National Register of Citizens exercise ? As a political party with an impressive debut in the 2022 Assembly elections, it would help if the KPA can develop a more pan Manipur agenda and learn to view each development via a larger scope. Dubbing the recent steps taken up by the State Government as ‘persecuting the tribal people’ can be seen as pitting one group of people against what the State Government stands for and if such a statement had come from a lesser being that he or she could have been pulled up for fomenting communal passion. Politicians and political parties need to set examples and not always rely on populism. The Chief Minister may also need to study the points raised the KPA more minutely and see if he has misread any sensitive points.