Interesting choice of candidates Eyes on the Big Two

It is interesting and this observation comes from the choice of candidates of the big two-the BJP and the Congress-to fight it out in the Inner Parliamentary Constituency. In settling for Dr Angomcha Bimol Akoijam, the Congress has more than indicated that it is willing to look beyond the usual kurta, Nehru topi clad professional politicians and opt for a personality who has always been there in the public sphere in so far as the concerns of Manipur are concerned. The BJP on the other hand has opted for a personality, a retired IPS officer, to whom electoral politics will not be something new, coming out tops in the 2022 Assembly elections from Nambol Assembly Constituency. Moreover the BJP candidate, Thounaojam Basantakumar, comes from a political background with his father, the seasoned Th Chaoba credited for making the saffron party a political force to reckon with during his tenure as the president of the State BJP unit plus having made it to the Union Council of Ministers as a Minister of State during the time of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Other than this, the seasoned Th Chaoba had also served as Minister in different capacities in the Government of Manipur. Two coming from totally different background, Bimol Akoijam coming from the hallowed halls and lecture rooms of the renowned Jawaharlal Nehru University as an Associate Professor and Th Basantakumar coming as the Education Minister from the BJP led Government at Imphal, having served as an IPS officer earlier and the stark differences in background has only added to the interests of the people. One a professional politician, after resigning from the IPS and the other coming from an academic background. Both the BJP and the Congress will definitely ride on the professional backgrounds of their respective candidates to woo the voters and much will depend on how the two parties and their respective candidates responded to the crisis that besieged Manipur after May 3, 2023. This is not to say that there are no other issues to take to the people, but this is the immediate point and despite the lull in direct confrontation between the Meiteis and the Kuki-Zos, no one knows if the clash will return with renewed vigour once the election fever dies down. This apprehension will play in the minds of everyone, even as they go to vote and this is the reason why it has been pointed out why the present clash can and will impact on the choice of the voters. This is not to dismiss the chances or potentials of the others in the fray, especially the young Maheswar Thounaojam of the RPI (Athawale), screen heart throb at one point of time RK Somendro alias Kaiku (Independent) and the colourful Moirangthem Totomsana (Independent), but the chances of the fight largely boiling down between the BJP and Congress candidates rings out loud, though this equation can also go horribly wrong.
The stake is high for both the BJP and the Congress, though for different reasons. To the BJP it could mean a sort of a referendum to its performance especially during the stormy and violent days after May 3, 2023 while to the Congress it could mean the opportunity to come back to the consciousness of the people. No one is bigger than the political party he or she seeks to represent at the hustings, but yet at the same time it is interesting to note that in opting to go in for Bimol Akoijam, the Congress is seeking to re-emerge as the force it once was, riding on the vibes the Professor has been able to send out to the people, especially during the peak of the ethnic violence in Manipur. It is this goodwill that the Professor generated amongst the people that the Congress is hoping to capitalise on and help the academician with its well oiled organisation at the hustings. A privilege it is yet at the same time the expectations could weigh heavy on the academician turned political candidate. The BJP candidate on the other hand will not have to carry the burden of the party riding on his shoulder and how well this point is taken as an advantage remains to be seen, but the well organised set up of the saffron party can be expected to chip in substantially. Plus remember the immense support it has in the Assembly, with over 20 MLAs. Maybe a little early it is, but the countdown has begun and how far either party is able to generate goodwill and posit itself as the party and the candidate to deliver the expectations of the people will decide who emerges to be tagged the MP of Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency.