TODAY -

11th Manipur Assembly Elections 2017: Issues, Manifestos and Outcome
- Part 2 -

Aheibam Koireng Singh *

1th Manipur Assembly Elections 2017: Issues, Manifestos and Outcome



BOOK PREVIEW

'11th Manipur Assembly Elections 2017: Issues, Manifestos and Outcome'
Authored by: Aheibam Koireng Singh
First Edition 2017, ISBN 9789383201303, Pp. x+ 123
Price: Rs. 650 (Hardbound); Rs. 450 (Paperback)
Publications of Centre for Manipur Studies, Manipur University
Published by: Cultural Research Centre Manipur

Violence erupted in CCPur District after the three bills for the protection of Manipur people were passed in the floor of the Manipur State legislative Assembly (MSLA) without any debate on 31st August 2015.

With the said three bills being introduced in the MSLA, printed rumours in Manipuri and local tribal dialect containing 10 points, labelling it as the 'Meitei JCILPS Bill' started circulating in the vicinity of the District Headquarter area of CCPur.

Its contents are here reproduced in free English translation:
1. Howsoever rich you are, you could not buy even a piece of land in Meitei land;
2. Any business enterprise could no longer be taken up (Shop & Estd. Act);
3. Would no longer have the advantage of getting State Government employment;
4. Our sons and daughter would not get admission in MBBS/Engineering and other professional course;
5. We would not be allowed to buy land even in Lamka which we took pride as our own;
6. Our students would no longer get Tribal fellowship;
7. Whatever benefits we so far got from the government would no longer be available;
8. Those tribes who possessed land at Imphal and other valley area would face immense hardship. Many of them would be dispossessed from the land they bought and settle;
9. The Land for which we took pride for possessing 'pucca patta' would no longer be hill areas. Government would have the power to forfeit it by enacting any laws; and
10. Various documents would be asked to produce to just prove that 'we are natives of Manipur not outsiders'. Your sons would no longer get the admission if you could not produce the approved referral documents.

One among the said referral Documents: Where did your forefathers inhabit before 1951? Even if it's in Manipur, could you produce relevant documents to prove it? Even if you produce, did it either existed in or matched with Government records? You become 'outside' when you lacked any of these. If you are outsider.... "from where?"

The Bill mired into controversy, not primarily because of its contents but mainly, by labelling it as anti-tribal, an opportune moment was crafted out of the situation to push the polarised ethnic agendas. The otherwise innocent people were deliberately mobilised and incited against the bill to spark the already highly charged atmosphere.

When the first day casualties of anti Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) agitation which happened in the intervening night of 31st August 2016 were reported, six houses belonging to local MLAs and Ministers of the district were set ablazed. Seven including six protestors were killed on the spot, four in firing by security forces, two charred by the arson fire, and one died due to road accident.

Of all the six died due to bullet wounds only the two killed on 1st September 2015 were certain to have died of police bullets. But those masterminding the Anti-ILPS protest deliberately projected as if all the nine death casualties were due to police firing. UNC led Naga cohorts including the NPF found the opportune moment to exhibit solidarity with the Anti-ILP Bills protestor from the Kuki-Zomi Community in CCPur.

The continuing agitation and the refusal to give a ceremonial burial to those 09 killed even after the prospects of bill becoming an act was ruled out with the President of India withholding his assent on 11 May 2016 exposed the intention of those sticking to protest. Seeing the over enthusiasm of the UNC, Kukis and Hmars have eventually declared the severing of ties with the Joint Action Committee Against Anti Tribal Bill (JACAATB) just ahead of observing the second anniversary of the Anti-ILP protest.

Later, JACAATB constitutes only of the UNC, other Naga frontals and CCPur based organisations belonging to the communities which were traditionally ally of UNC. The JACAATB had made a five-point declaration pertaining to the 11th MAE 2017. The declarations, among others, included refraining from casting their votes in favour of the boycotted tribal MLAs. The stricture against the INC candidate by the JACAATB led to the abandoning of the party by three sitting MLAs in Churachandpur District.

SoO was signed at Delhi on 22 August 2008 with the 'Kuki' and 'Zomi' armed groups namely, the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) and the United People's Front (UPF), and the GoM and the GoI. After remaining lull for more than 10 years, the GoI initiated the first ever political dialogue with the UPF and the KNO. The UPF, together with the KNO together controls about 10 Assembly segments in the hills.

In the last Lok Sabha Elections 2014 for the Outer Manipur Parliamentary Constituency both UPF and KNO took separate decisions to support the INC Candidate. Accordingly, they took up measures to ensure victory of the INC and their efforts bore fruit. Together with the creation of new districts, the ongoing political dialogue with the centre on Kuki-Zomi political issues was also a vital determinant factor which could influence the outcome of the MAE 2017 in the areas controlled by the respective armed conglomerate groups of the KNO and the UPF.

Results were declared on 11th March 2017. INC won most number of seats with 28, followed by the BJP with 21. NPP and NPF also respectively won four seats each and AITC, LJP, and an independent also won a single seat each. A hung verdict followed with neither the INC nor the BJP getting absolute. CM, O. Ibobi Singh, as advised by the Governor resigned on 14 March 2017.

On the other hand, N. Biren had been unanimously elected as the leader of the BJP Legislature Party and also declared as their Chief Ministerial candidate. The BJP staked to form a government at the strength of having the support of 32 MLAs. The Governor, on 14th March invited the BJP led coalition to form the government. Accordingly, N. Biren Singh, was sworn in as Chief Minister on 15 March and later won the floor test on 20th March, thereby ending the 15 years of INC rule in Manipur.

After Goa, Manipur became the second state among the five where, despite not being the single largest party in the assembly election of the respective state, forms a Government by forging a post poll alliance. And the 139 days old economic blockade imposed by the UNC was lifted with effect from the midnight of Sunday, 19th March following the tripartite talks involving the State Government, Central Government and the UNC.

[Note: The manifestos of all the contesting parties are also reproduced either in whole or part]

Concluded...


* Aheibam Koireng Singh wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at akoireng(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on October 03, 2017.


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