Time to show lessons learnt A test for the voters

May 3, 2023 to March 10, 2024 and what are the lessons that Manipur has learnt from these days of turmoil ? Over 200 killed, that is officially, 28 still missing, with the Government still unable to officially confirm their status and if dead, recover their bodies, numerous houses torched and levelled to the ground, over 60,000 people surviving in different relief centres spread across the nook and corner of the State, business down and crippled and apart from the question of when Manipur will truly start taking the first few steps towards normalcy, the other equally important question would be ‘what lessons has Manipur learnt’ from the days of turmoil ?’ It may not be possible to put the lessons learnt or ought to have been learnt in black and white, but the first test on whether any lessons have been learnt will obviously be the coming Lok Sabha elections. How will Manipur vote is the question, but here again there will be no answer in black and white but this is perhaps the finest opportunity for the people to demonstrate that they have learnt a lesson from the turmoil. Already names are doing the round on who will be nominated by the big two, especially in the Inner Parliamentary seat, but remember these are all speculations, worked out after learning who have stood up to be counted as potential candidates. As in the past, the final word may lie with the high command or whatever term one may like to give, but the inputs from the State unit will be very, very important. So who is best placed to present the case of the people and Manipur on the floor of Parliament and before the Nation as a whole ? The importance of this poser should not blow over the head of the voters, for ultimately the man representing Manipur on the floor of Lok Sabha will reflect the mentality of the voters, the people who voted for him or her. It is also equally important for everyone to acknowledge that in as much as it is the candidates who have to slug it out in the election ring, it is also a test of the character of the people and how they are able to choose from amongst the people who have come forward. As a young man shared in his social media post the other day, election is not about choosing a King, but is about electing someone to represent the interests of the people and the place. The elected should do the bidding of the people and not the people toeing the line of the elected. This is the bottomline and the coming Lok Sabha election is the best time to demonstrate that the people have matured enough not to be swayed by lies, money and muscle power.
Now is the time for the people to start preparing questions, jotting down the points that ought to be raised and start studying the antecedents of each and every candidate or at this stage the intending candidates. It will also help to study which of the political parties have the best interests of Manipur in their scheme of things. Situation should have warranted that the people are now able to distinguish between  what are populist measures and steps announced or promised with a long term vision, keeping Manipur at the centre of everything. Early days yet but it is important for everyone to remember that the person they elect will represent them in Parliament for the next five years and this is not something to be taken lightly. Manipur, more particularly the Meiteis, should also come to the point that their focus need not only be on the Inner Parliamentary seat, for even though people in the eight Assembly seats, do not have the right to contest, they can be the key in deciding which candidate gets elected. Afterall the MP from the Outer Parliamentary Constituency will also be representing them in the Lok Sabha. In a way the opportunity to have a say in the politics of the hills should be capitalised upon and this is what the voters in the 8 Assembly Constituencies should demonstrate. Much will depend on how the different political parties, which have a presence in the hills of Manipur, are able to reach out to the Meiteis in the said Assembly Constituencies. Time to show the mettle and character of Manipur.