Shadow boxing with kid glove continues
Hiyang Athouba *
The "concern" of the BJP national leaders for the welfare of Manipur is really touching.
For over one month Narendra Modi and those trouble shooters who kept on coming to Manipur closed their eyes and ears to the trials and tribulations of the people who floundered due to the UNC blockade against the State.
Modi was jolted to wakefulness when Chaoba and others drew his attention to the illegal blockade. Still he kept on fumbling.
The MHA has issued a statement telling the UNC that it is an illegal action and exhorted to call it off. Now that unidentified gunmen have started targeting the truck drivers the issue gathers appalling dimensions.
It remains to be seen how long the centre continues to maintain the cavalier attitude at a time people are starving and drivers are hurt in gun attacks. What the distraught people expected was something drastic against UNC and not a perfunctory statement.
Had Manipur been a big state ruled by BJP Modi would have done something different even without Chaoba's exhortion. There might have been an appeasement policy and driven a wedge among the communities by giving a long leash.
Of course, BJP can expect some seats in the next elections from the Naga areas through this dubious role. But Modi and his associates seem to have forgotten that there are majority MLAs in the valley which is the prirmary target of the blockade. It has not dawned on the BJP national leaders that Ibobi has gained a political mileage out of the catch-22.
Congress has already made a political capital out of the anti-people blockade and the creation of the 7 districts more or less gives a cast iron guarantee to another term of the Congress.
What left a bitter taste in the mouths of the people during these trying days was that some central ministers came to Imphal as opposition members and not ministers. As ministers they should have joined hands with the state government to tackle all burning issues.
Instead some of them blamed the Ibobi government for the sorry state of affairs. This kind of cheap political chicanery shall not have any impact on the January polls.
A seasoned politician like Chaoba who may not be happy with the lukewarm response from the central leaders knows when to abandon a sinking ship. His determination to leave the party is crystalised from two facts.
Patel can never be sacked at his mere asking since the tail cannot wag the dog. All his close associates will not be given BJP tickets. In other words Chaoba and his followers shall leave the party and fragmentation of BJP which is trying to wrest power is to the advantage of the ruling Congress.
Politicians like Keba and Saratchandra have shown that many of them will be left holding the empty sacks since only one person shall get ticket in a constituency. Chaoba was applauded when he said that those who sneaked from the backdoor cannot be the house owners.
Some BJP workers are not happy that such new entrants are bossing around and there is apprehension that most of them will corner the tickets. Those who miss the bus will turn against the party and it is a fact. Being a political turn coat which is rather a feather in the cap in Manipur Chaoba must have realised fate of the party in January.
Two gathering storms cannot also simply wished away. People feel it in the bones that there may be a X-mas gift. Secondly the BJP leaders have not succeeded in dispeling the gnawing fear that on two occasions the BJP government had driven a wedge in Manipur and there may be a third soon.
Now state unit president Bhabananda has started echoing His Master's Voice extolling the benefits of the demonetisation. The ground reality is that the state economy is derailed, all sections are hit hard. Government employees are in the banks and ATM booths instead of the offices.
They have to be in the queue from morning till late evening to withdraw salary at the rate of Rs 14,000 and Rs 2000 a week from banks and ATM respectively.
The smouldering anger and grumble of the people are such that if elections are held in January the fate of the BJP can easily be forecast.
* Hiyang Athouba wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on December 21, 2016.
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