TODAY -

MLA - defection politics in Manipur

Lulun Misao *



The 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election, 2017 was held recently a month ago. This means there is no state legislature election forthe next five years, with an exception to by-election if the incumbent dies or resign, or the incumbent becomes ineligible to continue in office. The people had successfully elected its representative ofthe house but given a fractured mandate.

Thus, no single political party got the absolute majority. The Congress emerged as the single largest party but failed to form the government. After much political drama the dust has settled in favor of the BJP led coalition government with NPP, NPF, LJP, TMC, and lone MLA from the Congress and Independent.

The election is over for the public but the politicking to defect from one party and joining the other is on the cards. The term”defection”is becoming popular right from the daywhen the Congress MLA, T. Shyamkumar had gone to the Raj Bhavan with BJP leaders and assured support to a government led by the BJP.

Now that the MLA T. Shyamkumar is one of the cabinet ministers of the ruling party, “Why this will not be considered of disqualification under anti-defection law”? When the re-election/by election is going to happen? There were intense speculations that more than a dozen Congress MLAs might switch over to the BJP.

Unfortunately, this is true now. Another 5 Congress MLA, Ginsuanhau, Y. Surchandra, Ngamthang Haokip, O. Lukhoi and S. Bira have joined the BJP. Since they have joined another political party they are deemed fit to be disqualified on ground of defection. Whether or whether not they resign from the member of state assembly? But the law says they must face by election.

However; it would be wiser and consider value base politics if they resign from the MLA before joining any other party. We can cite good example and a lesson to be learnt from N.Biren, Honorable Chief Minister, a former congress man who has joined BJP after he had resigned from both the state assembly and its party. There could be many reasons behind MLA-defection politics but it should not be the case of being political opportunists, power-hungry, lack of principles and ideologies.

Now the question lies on anti-defection law? As per the 91st Constitutional Amendment Act, 2003, at least two-thirds of the members of a party must be in favor of a “merger” for it to have validity in the eyes of the law.

“The merger of the original political party or a member of a House shall be deemed to have taken place if, and only if, not less than two-thirds of the members of the legislature party concerned have agreed to such merger,” states the Tenth Schedule. There is no scope for “merger” and there is a reason why these six MLAs should not be disqualified under anti defection law. Let the law take its own course.

The State BJP strength has increased from 21 to 27 MLAs but it’s not yet clear howare these newly inducted 6 MLAs be accommodated by the BJP, since the present government is formed out of political alliance.

It’s not easy to predict whether the BJP is winning or its alliance partner is losing? The BJP-led coalition government by so far has no common minimum program which is agreed toall the party by cutting across the political ideological differences. It is presumed to be an alliance of MLAs rather than an alliance of political parties. So, no political party is winning but all the MLAs in the ruling party are gaining selfishly.

I would not be surprised to see if all the MLAs of the alliance partner were defected to BJP. One can join any political party, having said that, it does not mean one should encourages MLA-defection politics.The elected MLAs are not expected to be involved in lot of political horse-trading to fulfill its self-interest.

Hardly there was opposition party in the state assembly during the Congress rule. It seems the BJP is following the footsteps of its predecessor with the congressman joining them. The people of the state do not want the same situation to be repeated. A good governance shall need constructive opposition to keep democracy in check.

The less the voice of the opposition on the house, the more the politicking will be seenon the streets. There are enough problems and challenges that are yet to be addressed and solved politically, socially and economically. However; these should not aggravate the situation wherein the various civil organizations become the opposition party since the elected MLAs have failed to address the wishes and aspirations of its own people.

One cast its vote once and elect the representative for the next five years’ term, but not for the representative that onemust choose again and again during the five years’term. I wonder why these MLAs would dare to defect from its political party and join the other without taking its people into confidence.

Are the people ready for re-election due to MLA-defection politics? Why there would be need for re-election at the cost of exchequer money? Why one needs to re-invest its time and energy?

This may not ring a bell to those leaders who thinks any individual or voter is a number and the election is just like a number game. The purpose is served if and only when the people become its political commodity that can be bought and sold in the political market with the help of its political entrepreneurs.


* Lulun Misao wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on May 10, 2017.


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