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Boon in disguise: Civil bodies’ restrictions on election campaigns

by Editorial Team
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Boon in disguise: Civil bodies’ restrictions on election campaigns

In Manipur, amidst the turmoil of ethnic conflict, a new paradigm in democratic engagement is unfolding at the heart of valley in the context of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Civil society organizations have taken a bold stance, imposing restrictions on the traditional methods of election campaigning. While some may view this as a hindrance to the process of how large political parties fight elections, it’s becoming increasingly evident that these restrictions are, in fact, a boon in disguise. In previous elections, the landscape was marred by raucous gatherings, frenzied canvassing for votes, and a whirlwind of campaign activities, and flags and symbols all over the state, every street, every road, every household. However, the ongoing ethnic conflict has forced a reevaluation of these methods.
The safety, security and rehabilitation of citizens amidst the violence have take precedence over the traditional fervor of election campaigns. As a result, the discourse surrounding the upcoming elections has undergone a significant transformation. Rather than being inundated with the spectacle of mass rallies and impassioned speeches, attention has shifted towards more substantive issues. The focus now lies on the caliber of the candidates, their involvement in relief efforts, and the policies championed by their respective parties. This shift marks a departure from the superficiality that often characterized previous elections. Instead of being swayed by grandiose promises and extravagant displays, voters are urged to scrutinize the candidates based on their merits and their commitment to the welfare of the people.
Central to this transformation is the emergence of organizations such as MAYOL, which have spearheaded campaigns to educate the populace about the importance of adhering to the model code of conduct. By fostering a culture of civic responsibility and accountability, these initiatives are laying the groundwork for a more enlightened electorate. Moreover, the restrictions imposed by civil bodies serve as a deterrent against the insidious practice of vote-buying. In the absence of large-scale campaign events, the temptation to exchange votes for material gain is greatly diminished. Instead, voters are encouraged to cast their ballots based on principles rather than pecuniary interests. This marks a crucial step towards fostering a more robust and authentic democracy. By voting not for the fleeting promise of a few thousand rupees, but for the long-term prosperity and stability of Manipur, citizens are reclaiming their agency in the political process.
Furthermore, the current election landscape offers a glimpse into the future of democratic engagement in Manipur. The success of these initiatives underscores the potential for a more inclusive and participatory democracy, one where the voices of the people carry greater weight than the din of campaign rhetoric. As we look ahead to future state assembly elections, it is imperative that we build upon the momentum generated by these efforts. Civil society organizations must continue to play a proactive role in shaping the electoral landscape, advocating for transparency, accountability, and ethical conduct among candidates and voters alike. The restrictions imposed by civil bodies on election campaigns represent an important moment in the evolution of democracy in Manipur. Far from being a hindrance, these measures are a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the democratic spirit in the face of adversity. By embracing this new paradigm, we can pave the way for a brighter and more equitable future for generations to come.

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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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