Questions for political parties Run up to LS polls

The crucial question is whether Manipur has learnt any lesson during the last ten months of violence or not. No clear cut answer here, but what is clear is the emergence of numerous power centres, each with its own set of agenda, but emerging all in the name of doing something for the people and the place. And power centres emerge or arise only when the necessary vacuum is created. Nearly one year since the clash erupted in all its ugliness in the evening of May 3, 2023 and New Delhi and Imphal continue to grope in the dark, not knowing what formula or step should be taken to restore normalcy. In as much as the common people are confused, not knowing when normalcy will actually return, the political leaders of the day too seem lost. Forget about the return of normalcy, the disturbing point is, there is nothing to suggest that some steps are being taken up to explore the possibility of helping Manipur take her first step towards normalcy. This is what is hard to digest and lest one forgets,  Imphal and New Delhi should not interpret the lull in confrontation and clash as peace returning. And peace should be understood beyond the realm of the ongoing ethnic clash but within the context of the daily life of the people. No one seems to know when violence will erupt constraining the people to come out on the streets and throw their own understood sense of security around their settlements. No one seems to know what steps the Government is studying to restore normalcy and who Imphal is consulting to break the impasse. It should however be clear to everyone that any effort to restore normalcy will run into a dead end as long as one side of the party in the conflict continues to stick to slogans such as ‘Solution First, Peace Later.’ One wonders whether such a stand has been highlighted to New Delhi and the Central leaders or not, but this is a point which Imphal should have taken note of and accordingly highlighted to the people concerned. And if the past is any indication, Manipur too, like the rest of the Nation will be caught up in activities mainly related to the coming Parliamentary elections, and the question is whether the different political parties, particularly the big two-BJP and the Congress-will sing the same tune in so far as the ongoing clash is concerned, or whether this will be used to deliver a point or two against the other. Will the BJP continue to hark back on ‘the misdeeds of the past Governments’ meaning the Congress and will the Congress go on the offensive against the failure of the BJP led Government to rein in the situation ? This is but one distinct possibility and in a way the maturity and mentality of the candidates and the parties concerned will be reflected on how it deals with the issue in their bid to earn the support of the people.
Let it be very clear. The issue confronting the people and the place should not be seen through the narrow prism of political divides. It should also not be used to earn the sympathy and by extension the support of the people at the hustings. Ideally the BJP and the Congress should be talking the same language and the first priority should be on how to restore normalcy to Manipur. This is not the time to take political mileage or in the present context, election mileage, and the focus of everyone should be on how to make Manipur take her first step towards normalcy. Let the people also set down the agenda and make it clear to the candidates and the political parties they represent that the first priority at the moment is a roadmap to restore normalcy. Let the different political parties and the candidates also contribute their thoughts on how to make the idea of Manipur all encompassing, meaning how Manipur as an idea will appeal to people of different communities.  For too long this idea has not been taken to the political level, and perhaps the best time is now, in the run up to an election. It is also time for the people to embrace the reality that the Parliamentary election is not just an election to decide which party grabs power at New Delhi, but is about deciding who gets to represent Manipur and her people on the floor of Parliament. This is election year and this is the best opportunity for the people to demonstrate that much more is expected from the political parties and the candidates and perhaps the first question to be raised is what steps the political parties and the candidates intend to do to restore normalcy without hurting the interests of Manipur in any way.