Coming Lok Sabha elections Dialling M for votes

It is early days yet but already pundits who like to believe that they belong to the charmed circle who have access to the corridors of power and hence know what is going on behind closed doors, the educated  and conscientious younger and not so young lots who believe and are convinced that the elected representatives have unfailingly been letting down the people and Manipur for decades, the leikai experts whose claim to fame may lie in holding local durbars on the political developments eliciting rapt attention from some hangers on, have started talking about how the people should grow up to look beyond the freebies and actually elect someone who can present the case of Manipur and the people effectively on the platform where it matters. Welcome to Manipur and in line with one of the hot topics doing the round, the names of at least six personalities have started doing the round, never mind whether the persons named have shown any interest in throwing his or her hat in the electoral ring or not. Perhaps this is what makes the run up to any election here that more interesting and  adding to the uncertainty, such as which party will nominate who as their candidate,  are the numerous calculations doing the round. ‘With the reputation that Mr X has and the immense goodwill he has managed to garner down the years, he is sure to win provided he is nominated as the candidate of B party’ is a line that one is beginning to hear whenever any talk on the prospect of any likely candidate or political party is talked about. As noted at the opening line of this commentary, it is early days yet, and this could be a prominent reason why many seem to focus on the image of any of the names doing the round. Nothing new here, for this is what Manipur has been witnessing whenever election time comes, but if the past is any indication, ‘clean image’ as a defining criteria may just be given the royal boot once campaigning kicks up and money and clout begins to do the talking. The M factor, as understood in Money Power and Muscle Power, and there is a reason why M speaks louder and better than credentials such as honesty, sincerity, a clean image, the qualification of the candidate in question and the Manipur that one sees today reeks of the influence of M in every election the State has seen down the decades. This is 2024 and has any lesson been learnt from 2009, 2014 or 2019, just to go back to the last three Parliamentary elections or better still have the people learnt anything from the outcome of the 2007, 2012, 2017 and 2022 Assembly elections ?  With so many ‘experts’ emerging the answer may best be left to them, but the question of greater importance is whether it is wise to let them answer this poser which directly affects ‘You and Me.’
Given the current reality and the sense of  wrong it has brought about to Manipur, the Outer seat will be of immense interest and much will depend on how voters in the 8 Assembly Constituencies, including Jiribam AC, which fall within the understanding of the valley districts, cast their vote. As in the past, voters in the Outer Parliamentary Constituency will vote along the ethnic divide between the two major tribes, the Nagas and Kukis, and apart from the number of candidates from each tribe, what will prove to be the deciding factor will be the voters from the 8 Assembly Constituencies-Heirok, Wangjing Tentha, Khangabok, Wabagai, Kakching, Hiyanglam, Sugnu and Jirbam and the question is whether the Meiteis have it in them to vote wisely and be practical for once ? This is where the responsibility of each voter lies and knowing that responsibility will entail not much more than looking at the plight of the young children holed up at the different relief centres spread across the length and breadth of Manipur, recall the incidents of the past 10 months, in short a task which is not something hard at all, but the choice on voting day can say a lot about the future of Manipur. Time to know who can be friends and who are not. This is about the Outer Parliamentary Constituency and coming  to the Inner Parliamentary Constituency, the people should understand who is best placed to present Manipur in the correct perspective. Again not such a tall task for what is needed is to look back at the days gone by. Manipur needs to send the right people to the corridors of power. The moment should ideally belong to the people and it is in their power to decide which way Manipur proceeds. Amen.