May 3, 2023 to May 3, 2024 Racing towards one year mark

The election dust is yet to settle down. Eleven polling stations will go for repoll today, that is April 22 and while debates and arguments can be expected on whether the number of polling stations marked for repoll is the correct reflection of the large scale election related violence on April 19, it stands that not everything went right on voting day. There should be no arguments over this for the truth is, irregularities come out in the open when only there are protests lodged and herein lies a tale, a big and telling tale. This is how the April 19, 2024 Parliamentary election in the Inner seat will be remembered down the years and this is not something to be proud about. A look at the recent and not so recent past should leave no one in doubt that this was the first time that the Parliamentary election had evoked so much interests amongst the people and it is this existing reality that should jolt everyone to the fact that the circumstances that pitch forked the LS polls to the limelight have not changed. This is a fact and in a few days time, the ongoing ethnic clash would have completed one full year. In a little less than two weeks, May 3 will come again, and the important question is how much has Manipur moved from the May 3 of 2023 to now. And what can one expect to see and experience on the day that Manipur completes one full year of ethnic violence ? Is Manipur ready to tackle any developments that may come on May 3, 2024 ? Or will it be a case of Imphal again caught on the wrong foot ? One can still remember how Manipur was caught completely unaware when the Tribal Solidarity March of May 3, 2023 totally went out of control and how armed individuals came to be part of the Solidarity March in full public view. Will Imphal be again caught unaware like it was when mobs took control and went on the rampage, torching and dismantling houses at Torbung and later at Churachandpur with the mayhem quickly spreading to Kangpokpi and Moreh ? Or will May 3, 2024 be a day to recall the genesis of the violence, salute the departed souls and look at ways to work out a resolution ? Tough to say how things will or may unfold, but one can expect reams and reams of lies to be told once again and there could be many who will be more than willing to recall the past replete with all the false narratives that did the round in the initial stage of the violence.
One year and the Government should not forget that over 60,000 people are still surviving in the different relief centres set up across the length and breadth of the State. Many are still traceless with family members still pining for the mortal remains of their missing family members so that at least the last rites may be performed. Equally important is also not to forget that the last rites of some have been performed with pangong in place of the mortal remains. It is against this reality that the April 19, 2024 Lok Sabha election was held with repolls in 11 polling stations set to follow on April 22. By the time May 3, 2024 comes, the election dust would have settled to a certain extent, but remember the last word would not have been said for the results will be known only in June. Not that anyone expects the election to come out with a magic formula to set Manipur on the path of normalcy, but the reason why the election evoked so much interest is the realisation of the people that the story of Manipur needs to be told not only inside Parliament but also outside, in fact to the whole country and the world at large. And who better than the elected representative of the people ? It was this narrative, the realisation of the need to send someone to Delhi to tell the story of Manipur that became overwhelming and this need should dictate how people vote in the remaining 11 polling stations where repoll has been scheduled. Vote with a conscience and at the same time let May 3, 2023 and the fact that the unrest has dragged on for nearly one year dictate the conscience of the voters.