TODAY -

Ugliest side of election
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: October 26, 2021 -



UNARGUABLY, for the past many editions of the democratic exercise, violence has been part and parcel of elections conducted in the state to enable the adult franchisees choose their representatives from the parliamentary level to the local bodies but the frequency and dimension of unruly incidents occurring in the run-up to the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly imply that the upcoming polls might see uglier confrontations among all the stakeholders.

In-spite of the ECI exhorting the public to exercise their franchise rights without any fear, it's a fact that no elections in Manipur were conducted in the most peaceful and fair manner thus far.

Even though nearly five months away from the franchise schedule, the state is already experiencing unprecedented scale of pre-poll violence probably due to sitting legislators as well as intending candidates inciting their supporters under the perception that election battles could be won through the use of money and muscle power.

As the candidates hurl abuses and level allegations against one another from start till fag end of the campaign period; it is but natural that the supporters get over-excited and the perpetrators tend to forget that section of the population they intend to harm are their blood brothers who the politicians are trying to drive a wedge to reach their ultimate goal of gaining power and wealth.

It is precisely due to such devilish agenda of the political class that the hard-core supporters or hired goons are hell-bent on creating fear psychosis among the masses and selectively suppress whoever does not fall in line.

However, it is depressing that unlike the past elections when acts of violence were mainly among supporters of rival candidates, a member of the journalist community has been targeted in Thoubal district, Heirok assembly constituency to be specific.

Manipur has seen various instances of journalists slain or harassed and media houses targeted by both state and non-state actors with the obvious reason to dictate terms to those involved in the profession of disseminating information to the public.

While such life threats to the scribes, generally from outlawed armed groups, were mainly due to differences or conflicts within insurgent organisations, there is every reason to believe that the attack on Elangbam Rameshwor, who is Thoubal correspondent of the Naharolgi Thoudang daily, by unknown miscreants on Sunday is related to the upcoming assembly elections.

The unsavoury attack on the journalist is probably the first of its kind to happen in the state during election time.

It is no wonder that the politicians think that they can get away with both deliberate and accidental acts of violence and intimidation if one takes note of the fact that there had been no conviction of the contestants in-spite of the numerous poll-related incidents in the past leading to deaths or injuries caused to the commoners.

With the political class seemingly invincible from facing the consequences as per the law of the land for outraging rights of the citizens, it has created a culture of impunity, where politicians can and do get away with repressing both the opponents and the voters.

However, it is never too late for the public to speak up and it is high time for all sane persons totell their wannabe representatives that violence of any forms cannot be a feature of elections, and that electoral irregularities will not be accepted.



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