As citizens from this eastern hilly region of the country cast their ballots to choose their honourable representatives, who form the government and run the administration on behalf of the general public, I wonder whether they will be able to elect the right candidates who will sincerely work for the welfare of the people.
Ironically, even though Manipur is such a tiny region, it has different sets of political parties (both national and regional) existing in it. And this time, around 279 contenders are pitted against each other to fill the 60-seat Assembly in the backdrop of concerns over the smooth conduct of polling in the state. 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 People's Party (14) among others.
Interestingly, the Naga People’s Front (NPF), a Nagaland-based political party is making its debut in the 10th Manipur
Legislative Assembly elections. Fielding 12 candidates for the poll, all Nagas except for a Kuki candidate contesting in Churachandpur district, the United Naga Council-backed NPF says that its priorities are to solve the Naga problems and to fight corruption in the state.
This election is indeed going to be an acid test for Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh as he eyes a hat-trick after successfully governing the north-eastern state for the past 10 years, during which it has witnessed many erratic agitations, ethnic conflicts, fake encounters and 121 days of economic blockade that crippled the state with spiralling price rise and essential commodities going out of stock.
The ruling Congress-led government has also finds itself under attack from several underground groups, which have imposed harsh restrictions on the party, besides banning and warning the public from backing it. Following which, several Congress election candidates and party supporters’ residences were attacked prior to the election.
Conceivably, at a time when nations are competing in the field of science, technology and the budding economy, people here are struggling for a revamp from insurgency issues, AFSPA, communal conflicts, unemployment, corruption, etc, etc. Therefore, the public should use this poll as a tool in bringing a ‘drastic change of fortune’ in the state.
The law and order situation in Manipur has been so pathetic that getting a government job is now enormously tough even for the well educated people owing to corruption. Here, in order to obtain your dream jobs, you need to be either politically well connected or have enough money to bribe. While the elite continue to enjoy benefits, life remains bleak for commoners and poor with no hope of parole in future. The government alone cannot be blamed for the prevailing catastrophic situations, but the people themselves are responsible too.
It’s high time that the public starts acting to rectify their past mistakes, and evict this ‘disease of corruption’. Yet, the best cure for ‘disease of corruption’ is the antiseptic power of transparency, and this can be obtained only ‘if’ citizens do justice and vote for the right candidates so that a just and equitable ground is achieved by all, not for the cash which they received from some candidates in return of their ballots.
I felt extremely hurt to see my native place, which has been regarded as the Switzerland of India, roughly turning into a dreadful repellent-spot due to negligence of the government. The dazzling and gorgeous land has been tainted with lack of drinking water, load-shedding in every 24 hours, poor road conditions.
Above all, elections are obligatory in the present days, thereby, having all these things in mind, and to accomplish equal rights and opportunities in all areas, citizens should vote for the right candidates who can deliver a change and work honestly for the cause of the people.
(The views expressed by the author are personal)