My poll without prejudice to anyone
Personality cult of candidates is more important than party affiliation

Seram Neken *

Polling in Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency at Thoubal and Chandel district  :: April 09 2014
Polling in Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency at Thoubal and Chandel in April 2014 :: Pix - Jinendra Maibam

Democracy is the most dangerous form of government, when the people living in the state lack political consciousness. Even the Dictatorship, as the most notorious one, has merits, if the Dictator is good, humane and patriotic in thought and deed. There were various types of monarchs in the history of the world, who thought and acted for the welfare of their people. Whatever be the form of government in existence, the most important aspect to be considered is the trait of the person/persons who hold the power. Hence, personality cult of rulers or the power-holder is the indicator of quality of governance.

Good governance is possible with good rulers. In Democracy, Good rulers are produced by the people who are politically conscious. However, for the time being the people of India, especially of Manipur state considerably are in want of the required level of political consciousness to choose their leaders through adult franchise. So, in order to bring about good governance in Manipur or India in the larger context, we the people need to imbibe ourselves with political wisdom to select our representatives, not on the basis of wealth and power, but with a very free and fair mindset.

The convention of giving votes to insincere, dishonest, unpatriotic and incompetent people due to attraction by money or out of fear of intimidation must be put to an end as early as possible, so that we come to a stage where meaningful democracy prevails in spirit and practice. Moreover, the political parties while putting up candidates for elections to legislature bodies must first consider the personality traits, rather than their wealth and muscle power.

Now, the Lok Sabha Elections is round the corner. Which party shall sponsor which candidate for the coming Lok Sabha polls to represent Manipur is very crucial decision. Next comes the choice of the people. In general people’s presumption, some of the likely contestants for the candidature of Lok Sabha Polls for the ruling BJP are: the septuagenarians Shri Borobabu Singh (Ex-Speaker), Dr. R K Ranjan Singh (Academician and former LS candidate)) and Shri Radhabinod Koijam (former Chief Minister), the Shri Thounaojam Basanta (son of former Union Minister of State Th. Chaoba), so on and so forth.

In my opinion poll conducted through social media around a week back, some of the netizens proposed names of an energetic and young Shri RK Shivachandra (Activist of the Act East Policy) to be a candidate fit to represent Manipur in Lok Sabha. Some others proposed names of even the current Cabinet Minister Shri Thongam Biswajit and even the Chief Minister N. Biren Singh as competent legislators to be in the Parliament.

On the other hand, when I created a poll in the social media for choice of candidates for the Indian National Congress, respondents mentioned the names of Ex-MLA Dr. Ng. Bijoy Singh, Ex-MLA RK Anand Singh and Ex-MLA Irengbam Hemochandra Singh as competent candidates who can have a say in the parliament.

Some others proposed Ex-Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh as a fit candidate for the Lok Sabha Polls. Another very interesting comment from many netizens is that Dr. Nara of the Communist Party of India is quite fit to be in the parliamentary arena, although he is in the wrong party. Shri Okram Joy is another option from some sections, as he is quite conversant with parliamentary practices and bold enough to speak out for the state’s cause.

Even though my polls in social media was very limited and in a short duration, it is really meaningful as names mentioned above for major political parties both the BJP and the INC are worthy of consideration.

Now, Manipur being a state with full of controversies which quite call for parliamentary interventions, need parliamentarians of national stature who are vocal, thoughtful, nationalistic, and action oriented. As experienced during the last few decades, Political parties should never put up candidates who would remain napping and keeping mum in discussions of national as well as state’s important matters.

Parliamentary Elections are not less valuable than that of the State legislature, during these days when Manipur is infested with issues pertaining to state’s ethnic and territorial integrity. National politics have become more and more valuable day by day, considering the changing system of federation and centrifugal nature of governance.

The people of Manipur now want to have competent Members of Parliament who can shout, act and save Manipur, notwithstanding the party they belong to. This time, People of Manipur are likely to go personality cult of candidates, rather than party preference.

After analyzing the data collected from my limited polls, I also get an interesting but confusing conclusion. When asked about the better Chief Minister between the incumbent N Biren Singh and the former O Ibobi Singh, 58 percent of respondents preferred N Biren Singh as a better Chief Minister of Manipur, while 42 percent voted former CM O Ibobi Singh.

When asked to choose a better future Prime Minister between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi, 53 percent of respondents preferred Narendra Modi and 47 percent chose Rahul Gandhi. But interestingly, when I ask which party shall will in LS polls in Manipur, they predicted win of INC with 63 percent and of BJP with only 37 PC.

According to my analysis, people of Manipur are still in want of incumbent Chief Minister N Biren Singh to continue to rule the state, may be because of his innovativeness, less corrupt nature, pro-people programmes, patriotic outlook, visionary leadership, notwithstanding the political party he is affiliated to.

Moreover, even though PM Modi has been criticised for his somewhat despotic and tall-talk attitude under so called Hindutva agenda, Rahul Gandhi as alternative leader seems incompetent to head the nation, according to the respondents.

In the prevailing chaotic condition in Manipur regarding Border Pillar issue, Framework Agreement, Manipur University imbroglio and so many others, respondents think BJP will trail behind. Or, the people seems skeptical about any competent BJP candidate for LS election.

These are my analysis after the brief poll in social media. But, it may be a warning to both Congress and BJP of Manipur that in order to capture BJP seat in parliament, personality cult of candidate will be more important than party affiliation. So candidates with traits such as clean, vocal, experienced, energetic, youthful (in action, not age), credible past, proximity to people and people's pulse and loyalty to party may be chosen with pure wisdom to win the election.

My appeal is to both the national major parties, without any prejudice, in the future interest of Manipur. If possible, new entrants with knowledge, ignition and vision may also be experimented.

* Seram Neken (of 'The Voiceless Speaks' ) wrote this article for
The writer is a freelance Columnist and Social Activist and can be contacted at nekenseram(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on September 09, 2018.

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