TODAY -

AFSPA never an election issue, why ? Sharmila in electoral politics
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: October 18 2016 -



She is certainly a news maker. Whether it is her historic hunger strike for nearly 16 years demanding that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act be repealed from Manipur or her changing track and entering the big, bad world of electoral politics, she continues to make news.

Now after giving up her fast, Irom Chanu Sharmila is set to enter electoral politics and if the interview she gave to Impact TV on October 17 is anything to go by, she intends to fight the election from Thoubal Assembly Constituency and Khurai Assembly Constituency.

As everyone knows, the former is the home turf of Chief Minister O Ibobi and the latter is the home ground of former Director of RIMS and former VC of Manipur University Dr Ng Bijoy.

Not many will share her idea of entering politics and many more must be under the impression that by entering electoral politics, Sharmila has only managed to bring her status down by a notch or two.

The debate over whether her choice is right or wrong is a different matter, but the important question is, has AFSPA ever been on the election manifesto of any major political party in the past ?

Has any election centred around the continued imposition of the army Act ?

A look at the past elections will definitely give negative answer and the interesting question is why is an issue which is high on the agenda of the people never been an issue around which elections are fought ?

Perhaps it is this very point which Sharmila wants to highlight by entering electoral politics and this is something which must be noted.

As stated earlier, not all will kindly take her decision to contest the upcoming election but it should be noted that AFSPA has never been a major issue in any election held so far.

Perhaps this is the right time to start questioning why is this so.

Is it a case of the people more concerned about other issues whenever election comes or is it a case of resigning to the reality that no political party will campaign around the army Act in the knowledge that nothing will move the Centre to lift the said Act ?

Rightfully this question should also be directed to the State unit of the BJP, as it is the party which is heading the Government at the Centre.

What is the stand of the State unit of the BJP on this ?

On the other hand, the Congress which is in power for the third consecutive will try to take cover under the garb that it was during their rule that the said Act was repealed from seven Assembly segments in the Imphal Municipal Corporation.

But this should not cut ice with the people, for the fact remains that AFSPA was repealed from the said areas over the battered, lifeless body of Th Manorama.

The question now is, with Sharmila already there, can one expect to see the upcoming Assembly election centred around the army Act ?



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