Who will form the new Government?

Joseph Joute *

Polling for the first phase of 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election ::  04th March 2017 .
Polling for first phase of 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly election on 04th March 2017 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

"Government will come and go, but the people will remain"

Who will form the next government? is the open question right now, everybody's guess. Let's guess. I'll bet there'll be a "coalition government" for the better or the worst.

I think "coalition" (a Congress-led or a BJP-led) is imminent. Besides, we could also be heading for a "hung assembly" which is not good for a strong government which Manipur badly needs it right now. A "hung assembly" is often a precedent of President's Rule,which neither is good for a democracy.

Like it or not, in 1-2 months we'll have a new government, let's hope. What type of government do you think we need in this perilous time, when every religion or tribe tried to rule over one another? In a land like Manipur where everybody is discontent, which government will be able to provide what everybody needs or want? Who'll be able to make all the people content? No one, I guess.

Like it or not, we're headed for a "coalition government" or a "hung assembly". Both the Congress and the BJP may not be able to form a government on their own. However, the good thing is, either way, there will be a "strong opposition" which is good and healthy for a democracy. The absence of a "strong opposition" facilitates rampant corruptions and manipulation of powers. That is what has happened in Manipur and beginning to happen at the Centre.

Individual or Party?:I am not against any individuals but talking about politics, as a Christian.Christians needs to play role to ensure good and healthy politics. Since democracy is a government by the majority, it is always wise to look at which party willwin majority seats to form the government. Though some individual maybe good performer, it is through party-led government that they work. So, it is the party that matters.

Party-wise, only Congress and BJP appear to be the leading parties that can form the new government, either single-handedly or with their allies.The Centre will be hell bend to install a BJP government, by hook or by crook. The Congress seems to miss its golden opportunity from the new 7 districts with its failure to lift the economic blockade. It will be its' best if it can manage 20 to lead a secular front.

Other parties like NPP, NPF and TMC may gain new grounds and have a crucial part in the coalition, including the Independents. It is surprising that NPP can become the third top party to file candidates. It is yet to be seen how well it performs. History may be created, some way or the other.

Better prospect for the NPP other than the others is that, it is a secular party ally with the NDA. For the tribal Christians minority in the state, Churachandpur in particular, it is goodthat secular parties play roles in the government, better than fanatic and fundamentalist parties.

Like it or not, hitherto, BJP has no foot-hole in Manipur, least in the hill districts where 100% Christians – always facing something or the other (troubles) when the saffron party is in power at the Centre. It is only very recently that it manages to get 2 seats in the valley by-assembly elections.Still then, one MLA joined the Congress, now only one. Not even one in the hill areas. It will be a miracle if it gets 20 MLAs.

However, Modi seems to have modified our minds with its loud-mouth-blaring and politicalized mud-throwing tactics. Politics of the mouth seems to be most effective in electoral politics since it is politics. And the BJP is very good at it, making tall promises. Tall promises and mud-slinging seems to work best in politics.

But reality is another thing.Do tall promises in politics make us secured? For us – minorities in the state –is it healthy to work with a party that strongly advocate against "conversion" or talked of the "death penalty" for converts and cow eaters?

Money and power seems to be the carrot that leads us to accept the saffron party, hitherto highly unacceptable, particularly among the Christians. Since our today's Christianity had highly compromised with the world and has becomedull, no wonder it has rooted in us. However, let us try not to be deceived by the tall promises of "development works". Although we may be poor and need money for development, we're not very poor so much so that we cannot live without it or need to succumb to deceive.

We need to remember that "modified" is not the original. Anything modified or codified hurt the former and it's always hard to re-amend it. Freedom and Secularism is the backbone of our democracy. It is good to ensure that all parties ensured it. It might be well if we can influence it to be more secular and tribal-oriented but I think that is doubtful considering our low status in numbers.

And distancing ourselves from a stable national party or state-level party is not healthy; we've seen it from the ADCC elections, incumbent state's Congress and ruling BJP at the Centre. Where there is conflict of interests, ideologies and policies,development is a far cry!

Put aside "development", how do we – as Christian and minorities – found ourselvesunder the BJP rule? Individual candidates may be good people, but we also need to look at the party; its root, principles, tactics and strategies. All political parties have motives. Are we really aware of the real motives (fundamental principles) of the party we support, be it BJP, NPP, Congress,etc.? Some wear Sheep Coat, politically disguised.Some a wolf in disguised.

Centre-State: At the Centre,it is only the Congress that can opposethe BJP or the BJP against the Congress. Even at the State level, it will be only the Congress or the BJP that can give "good opposition" or led the government to ensure effective governance. Effective governance can be ensureonly when there is a "strong opposition". A great deal of "developmental works in the right path" can be facilitates from the opposition bench, too.

It is wise to look at the Centre-State relations, too. This is where real politicking assumes significance. In politics we sometime need to say "yes" when it is a "no". It might be healthy not to speak from the heart but from the mouth, that is, if you are looking for only worldly materials, physical development or gains.

Real development is well-being and contentment of the spiritual and physical. Development needs to be whole in letter and spirit. Not simply of building pucca roads, schools, health centers, transport and communication; it's well-being of the person and environment.

Is our elections focus on well-bieng of the physical and spiritual realms? What will happen if a law came into effect for all Christians to burn their deaths (like the Hindus) since land for cemetery is becoming a problem? Administrative convenience or religious convenience in disguised?

Conclusion:What I would like to point out to conclude is this, what kinds of government do we need so that we can remain secured and free as tribal Christians in our own land, living peacefully with others whilst abiding to our culture and traditions? What policy do we need to ensure a constitutional safeguardfor us and which government will be best to ensure that? Government may come and go, but us the peoplewill remain, till many generations to come.

Does our action todayensure safe passage for our future generations? Will our deeds and decisions today have long-term positive impact to our future generations? Or do we act to content ourselves for the time being, as long as it concerned us? Does our vision sees over the next 100 years or we are blind by the "quick gains" and "easy money" during the elections? Our decision and backing today will impact our future generations and our lives over the next 5-10 years.

Let us remember leaders are appointed by God – through the minds of the people. World governments come and go according to the will of GOD. The rise and downfall of governments is the will of God. As God's children, will we do it right in choosing our leaders?

You have the right to vote and criticize a government, but you don't have the right to criticize if you do not vote! Casting one's vote is one's right as wella duty. Perilous times are here and let us be careful in howwe choose our leaders to be – keeping in view out future and status.

Let' vote for a secured future while on earth, and govern it well, for one day we will be ruling over these entire world and govern it with our Lord Jesus Christ, when He comes to rule the world! Amen!

* Joseph Joute wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a freelance journalist and president of Bible Hill Youth Club, National Social Development & Research Centre
This article was posted on March 09, 2017.

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