Wednesday, 18 January 2017


BJP’s dream run?

Political fortunes are not made in heaven, but on earth itself. Any political animal with a keen sense of the changing political landscape has only to grab the opportunity. The timing is also very important as politics is all about timing and this is what sets apart Okram Ibobi Singh from the rest of the pack. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi chose to defer the inauguration of Sadar Hills and Jiribam amidst protests from sections of the Naga society and as the impact of indefinite economic blockade combined with demonetization began to take its toll on the life of the common people and while the central government under BJP’s Narendra Modi dithered he came out with a thunderbolt announcement of seven new districts in a midnight coup of sorts. The NSCN-IM and the United Naga Council (UNC) were awestruck and as expected they denounced the creation of new districts citing ‘divide and rule’ policy among the Nagas. Mainstream Nagas in the newly created districts came out with statements welcoming the state government decision. Chief Minister Okram Ibobi has made his move on the political chessboard in the run-up to the ensuing state assembly elections. The NSCN-IM was not left with any befitting answer except ambushes on the Pallel-Moreh highway and arms heist on the Imphal-Jiribam highway. Previously, it was sporadic counter blockades in a few places by angry residents. But, after the incidents of ambush on the Pallel-Moreh highway the valley erupted leading to widespread violence in which scores of transport vehicles were burnt. The counter-blockades became fiercer, yet without any human casualty. That is the restraint shown by the valley people despite provocations. One recalls the 2001 June uprising when not a single hair of any Naga was touched by the angry mobs although the streets of Imphal were burning. Such is the expression of a longing for peaceful co-existence inherited through a common historical experience. Set against this backdrop, the BJP is left with few words. No one in the state of Manipur has forgotten the fact that it was during BJP Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s time that the ceasefire between the government of India and NSCN-IM was extended without territorial limits and it is a BJP government again which had recently signed a ‘secretive’ framework agreement with the NSCN-IM. Besides, BJP is ally of the Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF) in the state of Nagaland. Whatever excuses the BJP might have about its alliance, it finds few takers in the state Manipur. The central government has been a spectator long enough in the happenings in the state. The Centre has all along been allowing the NSCN-IM to open ‘unofficial’ designated camps within the territory of Manipur. The central government’s excuse of ‘law and order’ as a state subject no longer impresses the people of Manipur. Here ends BJP’s dream run in Manipur. After 15 years of autocratic rule under Okram Ibobi Singh, the people of the state had dreamed of a change in the political landscape and BJP was a very viable alternative, a few months back. Besides many aspiring candidates, political heavyweights had deserted the Congress camp only to join BJP in the hope of change of fortunes. Now, the situation has changed in favour of Congress after the economic blockade combined with demonetization and the lack of action against NSCN-IM on the part of the BJP led central government. MLA Khumukcham Joykishan leaving the BJP for the Congress is only the beginning. Others who had left the Congress for BJP would now be having second thoughts.
Leader Writer: Irengbam Arun 
23-Dec-2016 / IFP Editorials / 0 Comments


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