Lessons from outcome of LS election in Manipur

Ashem Regina *

 Vote counting for Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency for 18th Lok Sabha polls on June 04 2024
Vote counting for Inner Manipur Parliamentary Constituency for 18th Lok Sabha polls on June 04 2024 :: Pix - Lamdamba Oinam

A brief history of the electoral performance in the Indian politics can be traced since post independence. In the 1952 first general election held after independence the Congress swept to power at Delhi and most State legislative Assemblies. In 1957, 1962, 1967, 1971 general elections the Congress continued its dominance. However, in 1977 it was defeated by the Janata Party.

But shortly again the Congress returned to power in 1980, 1984, 1989, 1991 as the head of coalition Governments. Then, in the general election 1996, 1998, 1999 the BJP returned to power again. In turn, the Congress party again returned to power as the head of the coalition Governments in 2004 and 2009.

However, in the general election of 2014 the table had turned and the BJP claimed 282 seats and 303 in the 2019 election and 240 in the 2024 election. The BJP is one of the major Indian political parties alongside the INC. Since 2014, it has been the ruling political party in India under Narendra Modi.

Electoral politics in Manipur witnessed another interesting outcome when the result of the 18th Lok Sabha elections came out. While the Central Government had been formed by the BJP led NDA, Congress candidates in both the Outer and Inner Parliamentary Constituencies were elected.

In the Inner Manipur Parliamentary seat, Akoijam Bimol the INC candidate won by securing 3,74,017 votes defeating his closest opponent Basanta Kumar Thounaojam the BJP candidate who had secured 2,64,216 votes and for the Outer Manipur Parliamentary seat Alfred Kanngam S Arthur the INC candidate won by securing 3,84,954 votes defeating his closest opponent Kachui Timothy Zimik the candidate from NPF party who had secured 2,99,536 votes.

The people of Manipur now waited for the outcome of their representatives – how the two newly elected representatives tackle the conflict, how will they put forward solutions for the people residing in the relief camps, how will they articulate the problems of unemployment and inflation and many more in our society.

Many unwanted incidents took place during the first phase of the voting in different polling booths. There was widespread apprehension that free and fair election was not conducted at many polling booths. Violence also loomed at large, viral videos went on circulating throughout social media.

As a result, re-poll was instructed by the ECI. When the election result came out majority people did not questioned their political stand rather a joy of celebration sparked the region with the slogan ‘YOU CAN FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE SOME OF THE TIME, AND SOME OF THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME, BUT YOU CANNOT FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME’.

Why the 18th Lok Sabha Election was crucial for Manipur?

Since the 3rd of May 2023 when the ethnic conflict erupted in the State, its consequences were in front of the eyes of our representatives (both the MLAs and the MPs) but what saddened the people of the State is that the so called our representatives failed to take the issue outside Manipur politics.

It is crystal clear that the conflict reflects the geo politics of India. If we call India a Nation then why delay in the intervention of the conflict and bring solution to the issue, why ?

To both the major political parties contesting the election-INC and the BJP-we the people of Manipur want an action oriented political leader and hence as a result we voted on the personality of the candidate and to some extent the party politics and party ideology.

Of course we do not forget the fact how people ran to save their lives on 3rd of May, how they ended up at various relief camps and how their livelihood was seized by the violent incident. If not 3rd May incident then their lives would have been something else. Point is the ill treatment meted out to the people of Manipur when the State burnt, influenced the votign behaviour of the people.

I remember once Kautilya said, ‘even if a snake is not poisonous, it should pretend to be venomous’. Unfortunately we got ourselves such kind of snake that is far from pretending to be venomous.

What the people aspire ?

The people desire that kind of leader who can perform the activity of both the lion and the fox in the art of administration. What might cannot do must be fulfilled by the intellectual activity, hence we cannot totally ignore the cognitive capability of the leader.

The people have high hopes from the newly elected MPs of Manipur. Yes, the fate of Manipur cannot be fully decided by the two MPs but still they can do this little much to change the course of Manipur politics.

What must be our stand in the next 13th Legislative Assembly Election?

We the citizens must continue to actively participate in the political affairs of the State. Today tomorrow or day after tomorrow we may earn our living, increase our profit, continue our business or enjoy our lives but at the end the kind of political system that we hand over to our future generation solely depends on us.

In the rise of Hitler and his power during the 2nd world war Hannah Arendt (political thinker) herself admitted that totalitarianism emerged because of the retreat of citizens from civic affairs where the people accepted totalitarian ideas mainly because of the erosion of the public or political realm as a space of liberty and freedom.

We must not allow the emergence of such kind of situation in our society.

Thus, in our next 13th Legislative Assembly Election we must do what we can do for our better future. Nonetheless, if ‘old wine new bottle’ condition comes out as the result then it would be same trouble different day, meet the new boss same as the old boss, sales of the product were lackluster until the marketing department rebranded it with brighter packaging.

So to all my dear Kangleichas let us become responsible citizens of this State for the only future lies on our civic duties. Still it is not that late for our upcoming State Legislative Assembly.

* Ashem Regina wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on June 13 2024.

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