TODAY -

Congress down, not out : Need a strong Opposition
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: February 22 2018 -



No doubt the Congress is down, but to say that it is out in the North Eastern part of the country would be exaggerating a point, a point which has been tom tommed by the BJP ever since Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur fell into its kitty.

This observation is important and relevant in the face of the fact that two States in the North East will go to polls on February 27 while Tripura has already voted on February 18.

Anyway the Congress is a non-player in Tripura and is not even in a position to challenge the Left which has ruled the State for the past four consecutive terms.

Even in Nagaland, the Congress has been reduced to something like a non-entity, having been out of power for the last 15 years. But to say that the Congress is out of Nagaland would be missing the woods for the trees.

In Meghalaya the Congress is the party to beat and it remains to be seen how the BJP goes about with its business of Congress Mukt in this North Eastern State of India.

Down not out and this is precisely the question which the Congress leadership must have started asking itself.

Why did Congress fall from grace so dramatically in Manipur, after it had been in power for 15 years on the trot is a question worth raising.

True this question must have been addressed to by the State Congress leaders, but merely addressing and taking up remedial steps are two different things and this is a point which should not be lost on the leaders of the Congress.

Anti-incumbency is one factor which may be cited, but this factor alone does not and cannot answer the question of why the tally of the Congress dropped so drastically from the 42 seats it won in 2012 to the 28 in 2017.

A strong Opposition, that is what Manipur and the other States ruled by the BJP need at the moment.

And hence a strong Congress, by virtue of it being in the Opposition.

It is the same in other States where the Congress is in power and the BJP may be in the Opposition.

The need for a strong Opposition should not be understood in the context of the Congress being in the Opposition in Manipur and other States such as Assam, but in the need to keep a mechanism in place to check the doings of the Government.

This point may be better understood when one looks back after the Assembly elections in 2012, when there was virtually no Opposition here and the Congress Government had a free hand to do as it pleased.

So disarrayed was the Opposition, that it was left only to the two BJP MLAs, in the person of Kh Joykisan and Th Biswajit back then to take the fight to the Congress Government.

That Joykisan is now with the Congress is another matter but Manipur has experienced the absence of a strong Opposition and this is the reason why the State needs a strong Opposition now, especially with so many hot issues blowing across the political terrain.

The Congress is down but certainly not out in Manipur and this can be seen from the petition filed in the High Court of Manipur against the Manipur Parliamentary Secretary Act.

Time will also tell how it plans to act with regard to the MLAs who got elected as Congress candidates but have since lent support to the BJP led coalition Government.

So whatever the case maybe, all the North East States need strong Oppositions and let the Assembly elections in the neighbouring States throw up strong Oppositions.



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