Manipur Elections 2017: Where BJP could come out strong but where it went wrong!

Manipur Elections 2017: Where BJP could come out strong but where it went wrong!

While Ibobi has been accused of corruption and nepotism, the valley which wielded 41 seats out of the 60 Member Assembly seat should be wary of BJP. Let's rewind a little. Ibobi came to power on the virtue of the hope that the Congress Government will keep the territorial integrity intact. His predecessors were beaten up black and blue and the erstwhile Manipur Assembly was burnt down because the then Home Minister L K Advani under BJP Vaipayee government announced the ceasefire extension "without territorial limits" which included the Naga Inhibited areas of Manipur with the NSCN-IM.

Finally, the then Home Minister had to remove the word "without" from the ceasefire agreement with the Naga insurgent NSCN-IM. At the backdrop of that, an uprising which led to the total annihilation of the previous politicians was successful at the Assembly election in 2002. Since then there has been no looking back for Ibobi Singh. The implicit Naga Accord signed between the NSCN-IM and the Narendra Modi government in August 2015 is something the valley should remember when they go to vote this March. In the larger scheme of things, the BJP at the centre seems to have rather a pro-Naga stand, maybe, for the lone reason of undoing the historic insurgency of the NSCN-IM. But the repurcurssion to any such move to pacify the NSCN-IM may have immediate effects on the majority of the people of Manipur. It could work in the favour of the BJP if they had assured the people of Manipur that their territorial integrity will be intact under all circumstances and is non-negotiable.

The BJP at the Centre, while trying to do the meticulous tightrope walk between the demands of the NSCN-IM and the majority of the people of Manipur have conflicted with the interest of the people of the Manipur valley which represents 2/3 of the total population. To use the same strategy of not putting up a Chief Minister candidate in the elections may not be working in the favour of the BJP in Manipur. Usually, state party president becomes the Chief Minister in the wake of a win since 2014. But Bhabananda Ksh, BJP Manipur President, is a newbie with no experience or credibility in his side to govern a conflict-ridden state.

To put things in perspective, the people of Manipur are more worried about their territorial integrity being threatened than the atrocities of unaccountable Afspa or the very existance of AFSPA. In this light, it is only wise for the BJP high command i.e. Narendra Modi and Amit Shah to announce that the territorial integrity of Manipur won't be compromised under all circumstances. This step could turn the momentum of the election in their favour.

– By Halley Nongmaithem

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The opinion expressed in this article belongs to the writer and TNT-The Northeast Today may or may not subscribe to the same views

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