TODAY -

Capitalising on Manipur crisis
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: November 07, 2023 -



IN the electoral history of the northeastern states in India, or perhaps in the entire country; the issue of a neighbouring state may not have completely overshadowed the plaguing issues of a poll-bound state as it is being witnessed in Mizoram today, where the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Manipur is being exploited to the hilt by all the political parties in the fray for the single-phase election to the 40- seat Assembly, which is due to be held on November 7.

While the conflicting stand on Manipur crisis has drove a wedge between the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) or its ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the unfolding situation has provided a potent weapon to the opposition Indian National Congress (INC) and Zoram People's Movement (ZPM), which is an alliance of six regional parties that was floated as a political alternative to MNF and INC in Mizoram, for targeting the ruling party and galvanising their respective position.

Now that the stage has been set for a multi-cornered contest between the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF), opposition Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) and two national parties -- Congress and BJP, one has to only wait and see the ramifications of Manipur issue in the Mizoram elections.

The ruling Mizoram National Front (MNF), Indian National Congress (INC) and Zoram People's Movement (ZPM) are contesting in all 40 seats while the BJP has fielded candidates in 23 Assembly segments.

In addition to this, Aam Aadmi Party is contesting in 4 assembly constituencies while 27 Independent candidates are in the fray. Voting for all 40 constituencies in Mizoram will be carried out on November 7 with more than 8,51,895 voters, which include 4,12,969 males, 4,38,925 females and one third gender, exercising their franchise in 1,276 polling stations spread across the hill state.

Counting of votes will be taken up on December 3, and the results are expected to be announced on the same day. So, it is only a matter for time to find out, who exploited the Manipur crisis to their greatest advantage.

Among the political parties in the fray for the assembly election in Mizoram, ZPM appears to have emerged as a formidable force that could challenge the ruling MNF, which is increasingly facing charges of nepotism and financial mismanagement.

After giving a scare to MNF in 2021 by making enroute into the areas of Chief Minister Zoramthanga's Aizawl East-I constituency by snatching six of the 19 Aizawl Municipal Corporation seats, ZPM managed to demoralise MNF further by winning all the 11 seats in the Lunglei Municipal Council in April this year.

However, the crisis in Manipur which erupted on May 3 last, after a Tribal Solidarity March taken out in the hill districts against the directive given by the Manipur High Court to the Government of Manipur for sending recommendation to the Government of India for recognition of Meitei/Meetei as scheduled tribe (ST) turned violent in Kuki-Chin dominated areas, provided a perfect opportunity for the MNF chief and threetime Chief Minister Zoramthanga to salvage his party.

So, when he said that his party's stand "on the Manipur issue is a big, big plus point" in the Mizoram assembly election, Zoramthanga has shown that the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Manipur is nothing but a golden opportunity for him to exploit for remaining in power for another term.

Of course, he has always been very vocal about the ethnic conflict between the Meitei/ Meetei and Kuki-Chin communities in Manipur right from the beginning, and had even joined a demonstration taken out by members of civil society organisations on July 25 in Aizawl, while holding his Manipur counterpart N Biren Singh responsible for the ethnic violence.

But to play politics on the humanitarian crisis in Manipur, which has led to loss of hundreds of precious human lives and rendered homeless thousands of families on both sides of the clash divide, for fulfilling his own political ambition is unbecoming of a true leader.

He may win the election again, but has already failed in the test of true leadership.

It is unthinkable how such self-serving politician could even think of acting as the mediator for ending the conflict.



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