Manipur leads in the fields of arts and culture and sports among the states in North East India, but this is not so when it comes to politics and politicians. The latter have their own personal political ambitions, which is completely different from the neighbouring states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram in particular.
Last week, the nation witnessed a strange reaction from those intended candidates, who were denied BJP tickets for upcoming state elections due in February and March. The strange reaction from those intended candidates and their supporters, burning BJP flags, pulling down the hoardings all over Manipur. Much more than those intended candidates, their supporters came in public, announcing the dismissal of BJP mandals they had set up in their constituencies. Very next day, the intended candidates led their supporters in huge numbers, addressed different press conferences, announcing the mass resignation from BJP and declared to join other parties and contest the election. That is what most of them have done now and joined the parties that have opened doors for them.
Intended candidates leaving the party and joining others are seen all over the country, but mass resignation, shutting down the party office, local committee and burning party flags and accusing the state party leadership of corruption is hardly seen elsewhere. These reveals a clear and true picture of the political aspirations of the politicians and their supporters. Politicians in Manipur and their party workers have less care of the political ideologies, that includes the ideologies of the ruling party or opposition.
The political aspirations of the politicians and their party workers are seen very clearly by now, specifically by the kind of party they have chosen.
The majority of the politicians in Manipur have one common understanding that the party that will form the government, will not be able to run unless they are the same party, ruling at the centre. That is what we saw right after the 2017 election. Congress, having won 28 seats with 2 less to cross the half mark, could not form the government after their newly elected MLA defected the party and joined BJP and formed the government. Since then, exodus of the Congress MLAs continues and they never return back.
Now in the 2022 election, those intended candidates but denied BJP tickets, chose mostly National People Party and Janata Dal (U), the alliance parties of NDA. Hardly anybody chose the All India Trinamool Congress or CPI, except few joining Congress.
Cleverly, they know the profit by joining BJP alliance parties and the loss going with non NDA alliance parties. They count the loss even if they win the election from non NDA alliance parties.
The difference with neighbouring states – Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram, they are ruled by the NDA alliance government with local parties. These states though they are in alliance with BJP in centre, they stand on their own with the autonomous decision of the local ruling party.
It is unlike in Manipur, having the majority of the ruling party, either be it Congress in the past or BJP now, nothing moves without the decision of the centre.
Nagaland is ruled by Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party founded in 2018, Meghalaya by National People’s Party founded in 2013 and Mizoram by Mizo National Front founded in 1961.
Manipur Peoples Party is one of the oldest regional parties in the state founded in 1968. It is not a party that the politicians of the state will aspire to contest, like the politicians of the neighbouring states of Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Mizoram do with their regional parties. Therefore, though Manipur leads in many fields among the eight states in North East India, it is not with politicians of the state.
The political masters at the national capital know very well that power, position and money are the most wanted aspiration for the politicians in Manipur, irrespective of the political parties and their ideologies. Their masters know when the bait to be given.
The writer is a Hyderabad based freelancer and former spokesperson of North East Helpline, Delhi.