Blockade blessing in disguise for Congress
Source: The Sangai Express / The Asian Age
Imphal, January 29 2017:
The ongoing "indefinite" economic blockade called by the United Naga Council (UNC) has not only given an edge to the ruling Congress party because of polarisation between the people of hills and the valley, but also helped three-time Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh in diverting focus of the electorate from anti-incumbency risks.
The UNC is the umbrella group of Naga social organisations.
Political observers are of the firm view that prolonged economic blockade by the UNC will improve the prospect of the Congress party in the frontier State.
The political implication of the economic blockade can also be felt in the remarks of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secretary Ram Madhav, who on January 25 said the BJP can lift the economic blockade if Singh vacates his seat for two days.
The UNC-sponsored economic blockade has crippled the State since November 1.But such a blockade is not new to Manipur.
The longest economic blockade was called for 120 days by the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee and the UNC, one after the other at the fag end of 2011 .
It had a visible impact in the 2012 Assembly elections as Congress returned to power with a thumping majority by winning 42 out of the 60 Assembly seats in the State.
The BJP has also emerged as a strong challenger with Madhav, North-East Democratic Alliance convener Himanta Biswa Sarma and State BJP president Kshetrimayum Bhaba-nanda Singh leaving no stone unturned to neutralise the impact of blockade.
By carving out seven new districts, the Manipur Chief Minister has succeeded in hitting many targets with one stone.
Madhav said the Manipur Chief Minister's move led to the UNC calling the economic blockade.
It was a calculated move by the Congress to polarise voters in the hills and the valley, Madhav said.
The Kuki-Chin-Mizo (KCM) tribes in the hills of Manipur are happy with the decision of the Congress Government to form Kangpokpi, Pherzawl and Tengnoupal districts.
The Meiteis, who constitute a majority in the valley, are happy with the creation of Jiri and Kakching districts.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, almost in a fix, does not want to antagonise people on the plains as well as the KCM tribes.