Points On Election Manifesto For The 2017 Election In Manipur
- Part 1 -
Dr. Khomdon Lisam *
EVM (Electronic Voting Machines) with Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) on December 11 2016 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam
What is Election Manifesto
Election Manifestos are set of promises made by political parties to the people on the eve of election with the message that " if you vote for me then I will do this for you". The promises in the election manifesto cannot be construed as 'corrupt practice' under Section 123 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 (RP Act) . A manifesto is generally defined as a published declaration of the intentions, motives or views of an individual, group, political party or government whosoever issues it. There is no hard and fast rule that there should be only one single Election Manifesto for a particular political party.
A political party may have different Election Manifesto for different constituencies. The Election Manifesto are developed to solve the existing core issues and problems to bring peace , communal harmony and development of the country or the State. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in its judgment/order dated 5th July 2013 in SLP(C) No. 21455 of 2008 has inter alia directed the Election Commission of India to frame guidelines on election manifesto to be included as part of the Model Code of Conduct.
The Supreme Court has observed and directed that : All parties and candidates shall avoid scrupulously all activities which are "corrupt practices" and offences under the election law, such as bribing of voters, intimidation of voters, impersonation of voters, canvassing within 100 meters of polling stations, holding public meetings during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the close of poll, and the transport and conveyance of voters to and from polling station".( http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/elec_manisesto.aspx)
Importance of Election Manifesto
A political party may use the Election Manifesto for (1) canvassing of vote for election (2). Influencing people to decide which party to vote for (3) helping people to know what can they can get from the political parties in the next five years etc; (4) helping the political parties in winning the election. This is the biggest weapon to win the election. This is not a legal contract but taken as a promise and a commitment of the political party.
In order to develop a good Election Manifesto , every political party needs to study the current problems and issues and their impact on the people. To me, the following core issues needs the attention of the political parties.
What are core issues of Manipur today ?
In Manipur nobody is happy with the Government of India except the Ministers, MLAs and probably some members of National Political Parties like Indian National Congress (INC) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) . There was no ethnic divide between the various ethnic groups during the 2000 year old history of Manipur. After merger to Indian dominion, the hill –valley divide and conflict between tribal and non-tribal are increasing because of discriminatory provisions of the Indian constitution. The Indian constitution itself encouraged disunity, perpetual conflict between the various ethnic groups of Manipur.
Although India claim to be a democratic country, all the powers are concentrated in the central government. The central government can disintegrate any state boundary, can create riots any where for nothing ,encourage people to fight in the name of secularism, democracy, ethnicity or caste, religion or political parties. Any state with a large number of MPs in Indian Parliament can disintegrate Manipur in the name of majority decision. The State–centre relationship has been reduced to Master-Slave relationship. We have a number of examples to this effect after merger of Manipur to the Indian dominion since 21 September,1947.
The core issues of Manipur are
(1) To restore the love, unity, solidarity, mutual respect, mutual cooperation, communal harmony , peace and development of Manipur
(2) To protect the territorial boundary and administrative System of Manipur by amendment of Artcle-3 and other related articles of Indian Constitution
(3) To achieve a sustainable economy and self sufficiency in food production and all other aspects to enhance faster development and avoid dependence on Imphal –Dimapur National Highway
(4) To improve National, Sate Highways and inter-village roads
(5) To achieve self sufficiency in electricity to electrify all villages
(6) To provide potable piped water supply to all households
(7) To provide piped cooking gas to all households in major cities
(8) Need for construction of multi-storied Car Parking at strategic locations in the Khwairamband Keithel
(9) Need for expansion of Khwairamband Keithel by shifting the Governor Bungalow, the Chief Minister's Bungalow, Minister's Quarters to any other suitable Place like Baruni Hill.
(10) To enhance food production by expanding irrigation facilities , encouraging double cropping, triple cropping etc.
(11) To encourage the youths to participate in industries, export-import business enterprises as a part of Act East Policy by upgrading their skills and banking facilities
(12) Restoration of Scheduled Tribe status of the Meiteis to bring equality among all ethnic groups and to protect their identity, land, language, script, culture, traditions of all ethnic groups by amendment of article 342 of the Constitution of India,.
(13) The need to extend the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulatin-1873 or any other Act to check the population invasion against Manipur and to regulate the entry of migrant workers from other states. The provision of Entry fees, Landing fees, Punishment Clauses should be inserted in the Act.
(14) To lift the Armed Forces Special Power Act-1958 (AFSPA) from all parts of Manipur. We have nothing to do with the repeal of the AFSPA -1958
(15) To provide the constitutional safe guards for the Meiteis to protect their identity, land, language, script, culture, traditions
(16) To urge the Government of India to permit import of Petrol, Diesel, Kerosine, LPG and other essential items from Myanmar as a part of Act East Policy and to avoid dependence on Imphal-Dimapur National Highway
(17) To improve the National Highways mainly Imphal-Jiribam road, Churachandpur to Tipaimukh, Imphal-Moreh and other State Highways .
(18) Construction of Ring Road for Imphal City
(18) Increase of Lok Sabha MPs from two to 8 to make it viable
(19) Increase of Rajya Sabha (Council of States) MPs from one to seven. Every State should be equally represented as done in USA and other countries
(20) Establishment of an Upper House (State Legislative Council) with a minimum of 50 members with representation of all ethnic groups of Manipur
(21) Rigorous implementation of Foreigners Act-1946 (22) Need for establishment of a Highway Protection Force under the Union Home Ministry manned by Manipuris.
(23) Abolition of Corruption at the time of employment by establishing Staff Selection Commission with mandatory provision that the results of the DPC shouldbe announced within three days of completion of PDC proceedings
(24) Ban of contract work by the Ministers and MLAs.
(25) Ban of all rallies, poster campaigns, erection of cut outs, giant size photographs, Shumang Lila, Chak Chanaba and distribution of money as a part of election campaigns should be banned.
(26) Need to abolish the racism by the mainland Indians in various cities of India against the Manipuris by urging the Government of India to pass appropriate laws .
(25) Need for correction of population imbalance
(26) Neighbourhood Policy for establishing mutually supportive, honourable and respectable relationship with our neighbouring States. None of the neighbouring states participated in the last 10 day Sangai Festival in Manipur.
We are not interested in piece meal symptomatic relief .We want a permanent solution to overcome all the Core Issues of Manipur
What can the Government of India do
The Government of India can restore the love, unity, solidarity, mutual cooperation, communal harmony , peace and ensure development of Manipur by bringing about comprehensive amendment of Indian Constitution considering the series of blunders it had committed during 1947 to 2016. But It will be extremely doubtful whether the Government of India will amend the Indian Constitution in the best interest of Manipuris with all sincerity, honesty and commitment.
Under the existing Constitution of India, bigger states like Uttar Pradesh (MP-80), Maharashtra (MP-48), West Bengal (MP-42) Tamil Nadu (MP-39), Madhya Pradesh (MP-29) can easily disintegrate Manipur in the name of democracy and majority decisions in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. There is no guarantee that the Government of India will respect the pristine glory and aspirations of the people of Manipur. The grant of Statehood to Telengana despite strong objection by Andhra Pradesh was a good example.
What should all the Political parties do?
All senior leaders of all political parties should look beyond election and think for ensuring love, communal harmony, unity, peace and prosperity of Manipur. They should study and explore possibility of achieving "RESTORATION OF PRE-MERGER PLOLITICAL STATUS FOR MANIPUR on the same lines as Shared Sovereignty for Nagaland. They should include this in every speech before and after the election. They should take a firm decision, pledge and lobby for achievement of "RESTORATION OF PRE-MERGER PLOLITICAL STATUS for Manipur. The Manipur BJP party who runs the Government at the centre has a special and important role to influence the Government of India in this direction. Let us think big.
Past blunders of the Government of Government of India
The Government of India had forcibly merged/ annexed Manipur to India on 21 September, 1949 by keeping the Maharaja Bodhchandra on house arrest at Shillong,551 Km from Manipur violating international laws. . After merger, the Government of India has committed a series of blunders which put Manipur always on the boil. We need not re-iterate all the blunders here.. There is nothing common between Manipuris and Indians. The Manipuris have separate history, separate identity, separate features, separate food habits, separate language, separate script, separate culture, separate traditions, and separate religion (Sanamahi).
The Manipuris were not and are not Indians. Further, the mainland Indians do not accept Manipuris as Indians. The destiny of the Manipuris should be decided by the Manipuris themselves, For this to happen, we should stand united like one man. United we stand, divided we fall. If the NSCN-IM and Mr. T.Muivah thinks that he, with the backing of Christian world, UNPO, American President like Jimmy Carter, American Senate like Barbara Boxer, three internationally renown lawyers like Michael Van Walt Van of Prague, Anthony Regan of Australia and Kenyan national Yash Ghai.will be able to disintegrate Manipur , he is sadly mistaken. On 17 April,2012, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that the Centre was not in a position to accept the core demands of the NSCN-IM.
The Prime Minister's remarks, "Whatever is possible will be possible even after 100 years but whatever is not possible will not be possible even after 100 years".( Telegraph Kolkota, April 18, 2012) (Link here (e-pao.net) ).
Mr. Thuingleng Muivah. charismatic leader of Nagas should not allow himself to be used by the Government of India in fulfilling their hidden agenda. The people of North East India will be very happy if Mr.Muivah work for bringing unity, solidarity of North East India. We need a strong leader for the North East. Why should he die for a single ethnic group which cannot stand legally and constitutionally.
It is, therefore, worth while to remember that we, all ethnic groups can exercise the fundamental right to Self-determination as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and international law. We can assert for grant of Restoration of Pre-Merger Political Status of Manipur or Greater Autonomy.
We need not indulge in symptomatic treatment any more. We will find a permanent solution and permanent cure for all the issues and problems in the form Restoration of Pre-Merger Political Status of Manipur or Greater Autonomy. This is not the dream of only the Meteis. This may be the dream of all Manipuris –Nagas, Kukis, Meiteis and Meitei Pangans. Let us dream together. Let us stand united as one man for a greater cause. This is a cause worth fighting for and worth dying for. THE TIME FOR ACTION IS TODAY. TOMORROW, IT MAY BE TOO LATE.
To be continued......
* Dr. Khomdon Lisam wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is MBBS, MHA(AIIMS), M.A (Leeds/UK), HSMC( IHF/London), CCAE( Chula/Bangkok), PDCE (UCLA/USA) , Former Medical Superintendent , JNIMS, Ex-Consultant, NACO, Ex-Project Director (MACS) and can be contacted at khomdon(DOT)lisam(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
This article was posted on January 07, 2017.
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