LS election with a difference Responsibility of choice

Not that people expect a miracle but it is heartening to see so many taking a keen interest in the election debates and discussions that have been hogging the limelight, especially in the face of the ongoing clash between the Meiteis and the Kukis. Even as voters in 47 Assembly segments gear up to exercise their franchise rights on April 19, one hopes the interest shown in the debates and discussions gets reflected in the choice of the button which the voter decides to press. As far as memory can take one back, this is perhaps the first time that the Lok Sabha election has evoked so much interests amongst the voters and significant to note too that this interest has come along with the tacit and overt admission that voting comes along with its share of respon- sibility. To many, voting this time would mean coming around to the idea of Manipur, an idea in the existence of a geo-political reality understood as Manipur. And even as this is being penned down, there could be some voters who could still be studying the antecedents of the different candidates, the ideology of the political party on which ticket they have entered the election ring, how they have addressed the different issues dogging Manipur and yes study the Manipur of post May 3, 2023. As noted on more than one occasion, the outcome of the election could mean a sort of a referendum on the BJP led Government at Imphal on how it has dealt with the ongoing conflict, how Delhi has responded to the unfolding situation and this is precisely the reason why the Big 2-the BJP and Congress-have left no stone unturned in trading charges and counter charges. Debates one may call it, but it is these debates which have given life to the days running into April 19 and in more than one way, the debates and discussion should give people more than a fair idea on the prevailing situation. The canvassing and campaigning which Manipur has witnessed in the run up to the election would have also given the people more than a fair idea of which candidate is best placed to carry the story of Manipur to Parliament and outside the Lok Sabha. In short how the story of Manipur is told to the rest of the country and to the rest of the world. This part is important for remember Manipur fails to register in the consciousness of quite a large number of people outside the North East region and this is something which should weigh in on the minds of everyone when they go out to vote. This is also the perfect opportunity for Manipur to usher in a new culture of electioneering and demonstrate that the people have it in them to elect the candidate who can speak and act on their behalf in a manner befitting the bill of an elected leader.
Even as the readers/subscribers go through this commentary, let it not be forgotten that the 2024 Lok Sabha election is the best time to usher in a new political culture and demonstrate that muscle and money power would have no place in the choice they make at the hustings. This opportunity should not be allowed to go waste for remember in choosing the candidate of one’s choice one is handing over the responsibility of the people and the place for the next five years. This is no laughing matter and why should ‘My next five years’ be frittered away without much of a thought ? Let Manipur demonstrate that the lesson learnt in the last 11 months is put to good use and the first chapter to show that lessons have been learnt is to demonstrate this while exercising their franchise rights.  That the elected Lok Sabha MP represents the people and the land and not only the party on which ticket he is elected is a point that should not be forgotten. The people will have to decide whether to send someone who can present the case of Manipur effectively on the floor of the Lok Sabha or continue to be satisfied with sending just an MP who can at best be just another member in a House of 545 MPs. It is also important that people look beyond the 5 years office of the elected MP but see who is best placed to chart a way for others to follow so that the interests of Manipur is right up there on the chart. Manipur deserves a man who can hold the attention of the Lok Sabha and the rest of the country and herein lies the importance of one’s choice.