TODAY -

People have spoken, now the results : Dance of Democracy
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: Juhe 03, 2024 -



The Dance of Democracy-The vote was cast on April 19 and April 26 and in less than 48 hours - That is counting from June 2, the evening this commentary is being penned down - Manipur will know who will get to represent them on the floor of Parliament for the next five years.

The focus of Manipur is not so much as on which party will go on to form the Government at Delhi, but rather on the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections here for it would reflect the stand of the people in so far as the ongoing ethnic clash is concerned.

It was the ethnic clash that catapulted Prof Angomcha Bimol Akoijam to the spotlight and the Congress did well to ride on his shoulder to put up a credible fight against the nominee of the BJP, Education Minister Thounaojam Basantakumar.

In the Outer Parliamentary Constituency too, the ongoing ethnic clash cast its long shadow and it was precisely because of this that no one from the Kuki-Zo community entered the election ring this time.

In a Constituency where tribal affiliation has always had a strong say in the voting behaviour of the people, it was interesting to see the poll fight between Alfred Kangam Arthur of the Congress, Timothy Zimik of the Naga People’s Front (NPF), Kho John (Independent) and Alyson Abonmai (Independent), all personalities from the big Naga family.

That the ruling BJP preferred not to nominate its own candidate in the Outer seat and instead deemed it politically more prudent to extend support to the NPF candidate tells many a story and those who have been closely following the political fall out of the deep divide that the ethnic clash has spawned may understand the political compulsion of the BJP.

As in the past, the agendas were different for what could sway the voting behaviour of the people in the Inner seat would not necessarily extend to the Outer Constituency and to the people in the valley districts of Manipur, the outcome of the vote will reflect their interpretation of the ongoing ethnic clash, how and why it has dragged on for over a year now and whether the people are satisfied with the way Imphal and Delhi have been dealing with the situation.

The outcome of the election may not entirely answer the questions raised here, but it will certainly be a reflection on the conduct of the Government since the evening of May 3, 2023.

This is the reason why the Congress saw in Prof Angomcha Bimol Akoijam the man to field for here is a man who effectively propelled the idea of Manipur to the centre stage and managed to stand his ground in the face of the false narratives that were peddled all over the country in the earlier days of the clash.

The stake was and is much higher for the BJP than the Congress, as it is the party in power at Imphal and Delhi and traditionally the Inner had always gone to the party in power.

The interesting question is, whether Manipur would break the trend this time or not.

Not that anyone expects any sort of a miracle after a new MP is sent to the Lok Sabha, but the ongoing clash would have certainly been at the top of the priority of the people when they pressed the button of their choice on the EVM.

As pointed out earlier here, the outcome of the vote will also reflect how the people have responded to the manner in which Imphal and Delhi have been dealing with the ongoing crisis which has already crossed the one year mark.

To the BJP led Government at Imphal the stake will be higher than with the Congress for it will be in a way a sort of a referendum to the manner in which it has dealt with the crisis as well as the emergence of different power centres whose muscle power and strength saw a huge boost after the clash erupted in all its ugliness in the evening of May 3, 2023.

Dance of Democracy it was and the answer to which tune or drumbeat the dance of democracy was staged here in two phases in April this year will decide to a certain extent on how the story of Manipur is taken to the floor of the Lok Sabha as well as how it is told to the outside world.

A lot still needs to be done to put Manipur on the track of normalcy and it is only right to expect the representative of the people in the highest law making body of the country to lead the way by examples.

Manipur has had enough ‘players sitting on the bench’ on the floor of Parliament and it would certainly not be asking for too much to expect the elected representative to get up from the bench and play on the field.



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