Manipur a photo finish?
Economic blockade. Central apathy
By V Shanmuganathan
Legislative assembly elections are scheduled for seven states in 2012. The Election Commission of India has issued the dates for the elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. The dates for the elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh will be announced later in the year.
I was asked by the BJP leadership to go and campaign for election in Manipur. On January 18, I went to Gawhati in Assam and then to Imphal, the capital city of Manipur state. Manipur means place of jewels. It is really the jewel land of India. Manipur’s rich cultural heritage excels in many aspects like sports, dance, martial arts, theatre, sculpture, and handloom. The people of Manipur are well known for their high cultural sense. They are very religious minded, specially attached to Sri Krishna and Sri Radhika, who are always in their thought.
Tengnoupal Assembly Constituency
I went to the party head quarters in Imphal city. It was beaming with activity with so many seniors like Chandrasekar, North East India organising secretary, Padmanaba Acharya, state president Shantikumar Sharma, guiding the karyakartas. They were making hectic preparation for the visit of national president Nitin Gadkari. Then I travelled to Pallel, 49 kms from Imphal. It is the place of BJP candidate Janglet Haokip. This tribal leader is contesting on BJP ticket from 42 Tengnoupal state assembly constituency. There are roughly 49,000 voters with 66 polling booths. This constituency is inhabited by Kukis, Meities, Nagas, Nepalis and Tamils. Agriculture is main livelihood.
There was a public function on the road side. BJP leaders and others spoke about the dark decade of Ibobi Singh government since 2002. Congress led SPF government failed people of Manipur on every count, be it law and order or development or social and physical infrastructure and governance. Extortions, blockades, bandhs, killings have become the order of the day making Manipur totally unsafe for common people. The Congress rule will only be known for killing of innocent people both by state and non-state actors. It has given the people of Manipur economic blockades every year. Ibobi Singh government was attacked for sponsoring black marketing that has increased prices in Manipur phenomenally. Petrol at Rs180 per litre, diesel at Rs 90 per litre, LPG at Rs1500, and kerosene at Rs 100 per litre is the worst effect of insensitive Ibobi’s Congress government. There is a general feeling among the masses that enough is enough. Manipur is poised for a change. Speaker after speaker appealed to the people to throw the corrupt Congress government. Then finally I appealed to the people to vote for BJP. The state of Manipur is passing through hard days and facing multidimensional problems. Insurgency and criminalisation of politics at its climax, fear psychosis in the mind of the general public, unable to use the democratic rights of the voters due to fear of bullets are the serious problems. The election of the 10th Manipur assembly is a rare opportunity for putting an end to the era of political negativism, uncertainty, and corruption by Congress government. This is the moment to look ahead to a new resurgent Manipur. People should vote for BJP for protecting territorial integrity, for bringing law and order situation, to put an end to human right violations, to bring about the political solution to the problems of insurgency.
Myanmar border town—Moreh
Moreh is on the border of Burma. Considerable number of Tamil voters are living there. The entire route was on the hills. Many hairpin curves, short ubrupt turnings made the journey very difficult. Army check posts were checking the travellers and their luggage and identity cards for safe travel.
Local leaders were informing me about the details of assembly election 2012 while we were travelling .in the jeep .The poll date has been scheduled to be held on Jan 28 while election counting will be done on March 4. General public opinion is against the Okram Ibobi Singh led Congress government. There are two hundred and seventy nine candidates contesting in this crucial election. The main parties who have put up candidates in the polls are Congress (60), Trinamool Congress (48), Manipur state Congress Party (31), CPI (24), NCP (22), BJP (19), and Manipur Peoples Party (14) among others. The preparations are in full swing in 2357 polling stations. Only 160 are declared as normal and the rest are considered as hyper sensitive spots. Three hundred and fifty companies comprising approximately 3500 security personnel are sent to provide security cover during the elections. There are 17,40,820 registered voters who are expected to exercise their franchise on January 28, 2012.
Meities, Kukis and Nagas
The major issue is to maintain and strengthen the territorial integrity. Naga People’s Front, the party backed by the United Naga Council, has proclaimed that it would strive to bring the Naga areas under the same administrative roof with Nagaland, which is unacceptable to the majority Meities and the Kukis. While the Meities have held on to the present boundary of Manipur, the Kukis have also asked for the carving out a separate district within Senapati Area, which the Nagas demand for their own.
The ethnic political rivalry between the various groups has led to the economic blockades on the highways of Manipur, which are under the Kuki – Naga stronghold areas leading to spiraling price rise and essential commodities going out of stock.
Manipur- The real jewel of India
Finally we reached Moreh, after travelling 70 kms on the hills. This is the last town on the Indian side of the north east India’s border with Burma. I went to Tamil Sangam. Small gathering of 50 Tamil scholars were there. Master Yusuf was the founder of Tamil Sangam. There was a marriage in the nearby Angala parameswari temple. About 500 people gatherd to attend a Tamil wedding along with BJPs spokes person of that area Mr. S N Haokip we were informally speaking with them In the evening there was a public meeting on the road side. Myself, and many others requested the voters to go in large numbers and cast their votes in the morning itself on the polling day. The Bharatiya Janata party aspires for an ideal Manipur society that is free from violence, terror, intimidation, threat and coercion as well as from poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, diseases and ignorance. BJP willingly seeks the support of all the people to make Manipur as the real jewel decorating mother India.