Playing the card close to its chestEyes on the Big 2

Politics of silence. Playing the card close to its chest. Not surprising for the coming Lok Sabha election will be crucial though it may mean different things to the Big 2, the BJP and the Congress. This is particularly so for the Inner Parliamentary Constituency. To the BJP the election will be a sort of the people’s response or referendum on how it has dealt with the ongoing crisis while to the Congress it would mean stepping in to fill the void and make up for the ‘failure’ of the BJP Government to bring the situation under control. This is precisely the reason why the coming Lok Sabha elections has generated so much interests amongst the people, more so amongst the discerning folks of the land. Even as debates and discussions on the coming Parliamentary elections have started doing the round, one can broadly detect the emergence of three distinct groups of people. One is the discerning lot-the folks who have taken a more than keen interest studying the antecedents, the potential and the conduct of the intending candidates not only from the BJP and Congress but also other political parties, the second is the ‘neither here nor there’ lot-the group which will go along with the political turns and twists and the third group is the sceptical lot-the folks who will vote but with the ‘perceived knowledge’ that nothing much can be expected from the elected folks. The stand of the last group of people can be understood in the backdrop of the fact that so far no elected MP from here have been able to present the case of Manipur forcefully and effectively on the floor of Parliament and elsewhere, particularly at the height of the ethnic violence here. This is about the demeanour of the last group of people and contrast it with the keen interest shown by the first group of people and here is an example of how and why Manipur has continued to exist as a geo-political reality all these years. The important question is whether this group of concerned folks will make any difference to the outcome of the elections. It is the second group which can play spoilsport to the ideals of the first group and remember the majority always seem to fall within the understanding of the second group. A group of people who refuse to study and acknowledge the reality but who nonetheless have immense lung and muscle power and outshout anyone to have their way through and it is this which Manipur sees regularly being staged on the roads and streets of Imphal and other places.
It is the broad categorisation of the three groups of voters that the different political parties, particularly the big 2-the BJP and the Congress-will have to contend with while deciding on their candidate. No names have been announced as of yet officially, but already names are doing the round and this is where one can definitely see the politics being played in making certain names as probable candidates go viral on the social media. It has even extended to that stage that some stories come uncomfortably close to the understanding of ‘planted news’ to confuse the people and influence the choice of candidates. The politics of names or intending candidates and the longer the BJP and the Congress put off officially announcing their respective list of candidates, the more room will be created to float names and more names and in the process create more confusion. The stake for the two political parties is big, no doubt about that, but it should be bigger for the voters and the place. Ultimately it will boil down to the question of whether the people have learnt any lessons from the past Lok Sabha elections and 2024 is the best time to demonstrate that some lessons have indeed been learnt. What should not be forgotten is the fact that in pushing the button on the Electronic Voting Machine on D day, it is not only the fate of the candidates which will be sealed but will have a huge bearing on the fate of the people and the place at least for the next five years. Voting should also be a referendum on the Government particularly on how it has dealt with the present situation. This is the time for the people to show their authority and how they show it will tell whether any lessons have been learnt from the past 10 months or not.