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Uphill task getting steeper for BJP Manipur ?

by IT Web Admin
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By: Shyamsunder Haobam
The BJP made Assam their stronghold in the northeast from just 5 seats in 2011 to 60 seats in 2017 outclassing its performance in the recently held general elections to bring about a change of guard in Assam, making history in the process with Sarabananda Sonowal taking charge of the first BJP government in the northeast on May 24th  2016.
The Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh has been deposed, and there is dissidence brewing in Manipur, which should be BJP’s next bargain to enhance the number of BJP ruled state in the northeast.
Architects of the BJP must be busy working to capture power in Manipur, where Chief Minister Okram Ibobi is still finding it hard to keep rebel MLAs in control, as State general elections are less than a year away. The BJP has found it relatively easy to foment trouble in Congress-ruled States where ruling party legislators are at odds with the Chief Ministers.
A multi pronged strategy would be required for the BJP to garner votes in Manipur, which is is a very susceptible state. The current commotion in the state should be taken into account and votes based on religion will be a complete downer taking into elucidation of the predominantly hindu majority state.
Moreover the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which immunises military personnel from prosecution of laws and which is in force in the state and which Irom Sharmila has been demanding the removal of the act by fasting for over fifteen years should be taken radically.
The AFSPA allows Army to fire upon and even cause death against any person working in contravention of law and order in an area declared disturbed by the state government. They can arrest any person without warrant but will have to hand over the same to police within 48 hours. They can destroy any arms dumps, terror training centers etc. No prosecution suit or legal proceedings can be initiated against Army Personnel without the sanction of the Central Government.
Parts of North-Eastern states as well as Jammu & Kashmir, where the act is in force has been raging in the media and political stake holders for quite some time for removal of the act.
Nevertheless, while the AFSPA critics have been vociferously painting the enabling provisions of the Act as ‘draconian’, official response from the Government and the Army has been rather muted and grossly inadequate. The defence forces are armed with this law to flush out the so called terrorists in J&K, Nagaland, Manipur and other disturbed areas of North-East Region.
It is strange or rather unfortunate that one Jagdamba Mall, in an article in the Organiser which is a mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) stated that “Irom Chanu Sharmila, 44, of Manipur reported to be in the state of unsound mind and unsound health, is a God-given stooge in the hands of terrorists and secessionist forces who are glorifying her as a champion of anti-national forces”.
The RSS mouthpiece also stated “Army may be deployed and they should remain armed with AFSPA in Jammu & Kashmir and north eastern states”
This was at a time when the BJP was just celebrating the beginning of capture of the north eastern part of India displacing Tarun Gogoi, Chief minister of Assam for 15 consecutive years, by a credible margin.
The Inner Line Permit System (ILPS) issue is the most important issue that should be seriously taken as the three bills passed by the assembly last year has created a significant divide amongst residents of the people living in the hills and the valley.
The three bills were passed by the assembly August last year which the tribal community feels they are anti tribal should also be taken into account. Nine lost their lives in remonstration against the bills passed by the assembly, bodies which still lay without their rituals being performed at Churachandpur.
Sections of the majority Meitei community, demanding ST status while some of the same community opposing it, should also be taken into account. Manipur is inhabited by over 30 communities having distinct customs and languages.
The BJP already has two MLAs in their booty and dissidence in the congress may further heighten their tally by the next election, given their expertise in toppling governments, especially the small states as they are easy to disintegrate due their lesser number of elected representatives.
Still then it would still be an uphill task getting ever steeper, if the RSS keep on conveying proclamation of their own ideologies creating vertigo between their own sister organisations.
The ILP, anti ILP, ST demand and AFSPA are the issues BJP Manipur needs to handle with utmost care. Differences between the BJP and RSS may prove dear, especially in Manipur where everyone is horror-struck with AFSPA, the army who is safeguarded by this act to cover up their illegitimate activities, ongoing ILP and anti ILP and ST demand may prove BJP’s dream of getting more states in the northeast ineffectual.

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Imphal Times is a daily English newspaper published in Imphal and is registered with Registrar of the Newspapers for India with Regd. No MANENG/2013/51092


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