Cong looking to buck the trend Interests kicked up

There is a reason why the coming Lok Sabha election has evoked so much interest amongst the voters and not without reason.  In many ways the outcome of the election will reflect the people’s stand on the manner in which New Delhi has responded to the situation as well as how the Biren Singh led Government at Imphal has tackled the crisis. Eleven months since Manipur went up in flames in the evening of May 3, 2023 and obvious that the people have a lot to look back in deciding who to vote for and it is precisely because of this reality that first timer Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam of the Congress has emerged as one of the more formidable foes of the BJP candidate Thounaojam Basantakumar. If the past is any indication, candidate belonging to the ruling party or front has always had it easy in the Inner Parliamentary seat of Manipur and one just has to recall the ease with which Dr T Meinya of the Congress went on to represent the Inner seat when the party was in power at Imphal and at the Centre. Same may be said in the case of RK Ranjan the immediate former MP of the BJP from the Inner Constituency booking a seat when the BJP was in power at Imphal. Same was the case when N Tombi of the Congress represented the Inner in the Lok Sabha when the party was in its prime at New Delhi and Imphal as well and in the Outer one can still recall the days when it sort of became the home turf of Meijinlung Kamson. The late Yumnam Yaima of the MPP was more like an aberration but remember it was at that point of time when the MPP was on the rise in Manipur and yes one may add Mani Charenamei and Dr Lorho Pfoze of the NPF. It is against this reality that one sees the oldest political party, the Congress, sort of riding on the shoulder of its candidate Bimol Akoijam. Will the Professor from Jawaharlal Nehru University be able to break the trend and snap the run of the candidate from the party in power winning the Lok Sabha election, is the question which has piqued the  interests of the people. The ongoing clash will no doubt hang heavy in the minds of the people when they zero in on the candidate of their choice, but it should say something significant that the Congress has been able to evoke so much interest in the very choice of picking its candidate in the Inner seat. The story may be a bit different in the Outer Parliamentary Constituency for the oldest political party in the country, but there could be a reason why many assume that the Congress candidate is in the forefront here too.
Adding to the interest in so far as the Inner seat is concerned is the manner in which champions of the ST for Meiteis demand have been able to pitchfork this issue in the election domain. In their very stand to stay away from the polls, the Meetei/Meitei Tribe Union has rung out a strong message that the ST issue is something more important that the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. The series of meetings held under the aegis of the World Meetei Council highlighting the pressing need to send the report sought by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs back in 2013 and asking why the Chief Minister is still reluctant to send the report, underlines the efforts made to bring the ST for Meiteis demand in the election ring. The Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee, Manipur (STDCM) has on the other hand been knocking at the doors of the six candidates in the Inner seat to get their viewpoints and stand behind the demand that the Meiteis be included in the ST list. Positive development, one may say for the need to make the ST demand an issue before any election cannot be over emphasised. One hopes this initiative is taken further and the campaign features as one of the major issues when Manipur goes for Assembly polls in 2027. Will the ST for Meitei champions be able to keep up the tempo is the question that arises here and the answer will lie in its ability to take everyone along. More needs to be done, but it seems to be on track with all the candidates, which the STDCM have meet openly stating that they do back the demand. Resolve the ongoing clash now and then focus on the ST for Meiteis demand. These are the two points that must be on the priority of every political party and every candidate who have a say in the public sphere.