Excellent excercise of adult franchise in the 17th LS Polls

Yangsorang Rongreisek *

 Voting for Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency for 17th Lok Sabha election at Kangpokpi :: 11 April 2019
Voting for Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency for 17th Lok Sabha election at Kangpokpi on 11 April 2019 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

The electorates of both the Hill and the Valley of Manipur had exercised their adult franchise in the recent 17th Lok Sabha Polls rather wisely, and it is viewed as an excellent exercise of adult franchise in modern days' politics. The people here are now not lagging behind when it comes to the question of voting.

In the latest trend in the state, money and muscle power didn't work much as it is evident from the figures of votes polled for Dr.Moirangthem Nara Singh of CPI leading admirably in Uripok and Keshamthong A/Cs -two highly educated zones, and capturing quite a considerable vote share in Khurai, Kshetrigao, Lamlai, Thangmeiband, Sagolband, Singjamei, Yaishkul, Wangkhei, Sekmai(SC), Patsoi, Langthabal, Naoriya Pakhanglakpa, Oinam, Moirang, Lilong, Thoubal and Wangkhem Assembly Constituencies, all due to his hard work and charisma though he couldn't win.

This he did without the backing of a single sitting MLA unlike other candidates. It is an upward trend in modern politics here in our state. If the decisions of the electorates of Manipur continue to be so, the state can elect merit based and pro-people candidates in all kinds of election in the near future.

In the just concluded election, it was the irresistible wave called NamoTsunami that swept the polls across the Hindi Heartland, West Bengal and in a large part of the India's North-East Region. This wave reached Manipur as it did in the 16th LS Polls in 2014, and this time, too the majority of the people of Manipur irrespective of caste, creed and religion opted for Shri Narendra Modi being lured by his achievements in the last five years.

Though the BJP candidate Houlim Shoukhopao Mate alias Benjamin Mate could not win the seat of II-Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency, he got a handsome vote-share in the election leading in Heirok, Kangpokpi, Saikul, Saitu, Saikot, Thanlon, Henglep, Singhat, Kakching and Jiribam assembly constituencies.

There was every chance of his winning the seat, being the candidate sponsored by the ruling party in the state but this time around the Naga Peoples' Front (NPF) of Manipur Unit emerged as the towering rock which the ruling party and the INC watched almost silently. There was no way out except for the saying "wait and see".

In other words, no party could make inroads in their seven bases as they were strongly united to achieve their political aspiration. In this way, the NPF could show the Naga Unity to the world. Its candidate Dr. Lorho S. Pfoze romped home getting 363527 votes easily while his rival Benjamin Mate got 289745 votes, the difference being 73782 votes.

On the one hand, Shri Oinam Nabakishore Singh, Retired IAS of INC, who is the first Chief Secretary among the valley people of Manipur, also got high percentage of votes though defeated by Dr. R. K. Ranjan Singh of the BJP by a margin of 17755 votes only. However, Dr. Singh also got 20176 votes in the honourable CM's Heingang assembly constituency - the highest ever for a candidate to garner such a huge votes in a single assembly constituency.

What is most surprising is that the soft spoken INC candidate had bagged 10947 votes leading in Mayang Imphal A/C where the Deputy Speaker of Manipur Legislative Assembly, Shri K. Robindro Singh is the sitting MLA who had defeated the INC candidate by a huge margin in the last assembly election held in 2017.

What more is there to react to this development? Whether the electorates of the particular A/C have reversed their stand is worthy of introspection. In this general election, Shri R. K. Somorendro Singh (Kaiku), actor and an independent candidate was in the fray and he also got a good number of votes paving the way for building his future political career. He is young and dynamic. There is every possibility of his becoming a nice politician. His future is bright.

After the completion of poll process, Shri Oinam Nabakishore Singh thanked his supporters-senior party leaders, youth, students and people of Manipur valley for their relentless support in the campaign, for which he said he was indebted to them through the news channel ISTV. Dr. Lorho S. Pfoze of NPF, the winner of II-Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency briefly spoke on the hill-plain relation that he would strive to build.

Dr. R. K. Ranjan Singh, the winner of I-Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency issued a brief victory statement in the DC Complex, IW at past midnight of the 23rd May, 2019, some of the development programs that he would pursue. In a democracy, one will win and the other will lose in the election. These are poignant moments for political party candidates. For the deeply disappointed candidate with his face becoming dark with rage, the work and strain of months have gone for naught.

Yet, he draws some satisfaction from the kind of race he ran during the high pitched campaign trail, from the amount of support he received and from the contribution he made to his party. Through the gloom of defeat, he can consolidate his position stronger for victory next time. For the winner, the moment is to be savoured, for all the effort has been worth it. The weariness of campaigning has been dispelled by the exhilaration of triumph. The future he knows holds boundless opportunity.

For the winner and the loser, there is a room for satisfaction to be shared. Each participated fully in a democratic process. Each in his individual way added something to a system of free govt that is one of man's noblest creations for all the democratic countries. Each left the system stronger than he found it, and by his efforts helped make sure it will endure.

Over the years in Manipur, the voters' record of sound judgement has been remarkably good by choosing the candidates who will actually work for the welfare of the people residing in their constituencies. To cite an example, voters of Lamshang A/C have elected Shri Sorokhaibam Rajen Singh to the state's assembly after a long wait of 15 years.

In return, the honourable MLA has also fulfilled most of his promises made in the last assembly election by improving quite a large number of inter-village and main roads in his constituency. He has constructed more than 30 village level community halls and many waiting sheds in the villages in two years' time. Besides, he is paying frequent visit to villages.

Today, Lamshang A/C is shining due to his ceaseless effort. We always need an MLA of such stature to serve the people while thousands of men and women who work all the days of their lives receive barely enough for a wretched existence. To conclude, the recent post poll scenes were calm and quiet both in the hill and valley district HQs.

No one rioted in the streets; no one in the losing party even thought of creating havocs. This is the opposite of what was greatly feared when many of govt and autonomous dist council employees of the hill districts of Manipur were, at first, reluctant to accept appointment letters for poll duties.

The latest trend shows the political maturity of the people of Manipur in election with the exception of some sporadic violence at some polling stations. It is natural, and this is what happens everywhere in the largest democratic country of the world. Let us wish our two honourable MPs good lucks, and let them jointly shoulder the responsibility of pressing the central govt for early completion of various projects under the Flagship Programme in Manipur.

* Yangsorang Rongreisek wrote this article for
The writer is a Longa Koireng in Kangpokpi District and can be reached at yangsorangr65(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on May 28, 2019.

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