Home » Ineffectiveness Unites Congress and BJP in Manipur, Both Failed

Ineffectiveness Unites Congress and BJP in Manipur, Both Failed

by Aribam Bishwajit
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It is glaringly evident that the administration led by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, under the banner of the BJP, has encountered a monumental failure in curbing the ongoing violent turmoil in Manipur, which has persisted for an unrelenting seven months. Despite government proclamations of earnest efforts to restore peace and stability, the ground reality remains distressingly unchanged. The captain of this government, N. Biren Singh, seems to have exhausted all viable options and is now committed to pursuing a form of peace that appears disingenuous. His strategy appears centered around enforcing a coerced peace by segregating the populace along communal lines in a desperate attempt to prevent inter-community strife. Regrettably, this approach has failed to yield a sustainable resolution, leaving Manipur ensnared in a state of perpetual unrest.
The existing law and order predicament in Manipur is unprecedented in its severity, deviating sharply from the region’s historical norm of stability. Both the ruling parties and their coalition partners have proven woefully inadequate in addressing the crisis. As the turmoil has raged on for half a year, public patience has worn thin, and there is a growing clamor for accountability. This demand for answers transcends the ruling parties, extending to the opposition’s effectiveness in either guiding or opposing the strategies implemented by the government to tackle the situation.
The democratic fabric of the Manipur Government fundamentally depends on the constructive contributions of opposition parties. However, despite their vocal presence throughout these tumultuous six months, their capacity to act as an effective opposition has come under the microscope and, regrettably, fallen short. Their ability to provide coherent guidance and counter the ruling party’s measures has proved lackluster, casting doubt on their overall efficacy within the democratic framework.
In addition to the Indian National Congress, several prominent opposition parties in Manipur, including JD(U), Trinamool Congress, CPI, CPI(M), Aam Aadmi Party, All India Forward Bloc, Revolutionary Socialist Party, Nationalist Congress Party, and Shiv Sena (UBT), have been actively engaged in ‘fulfilling’ their roles as opposition parties. Since May 3, Manipur has witnessed a stream of leaders from various parties across India flying in with the expressed intent of assessing the situation and urging the government to effect positive change, thereby restoring peace to the troubled state. Among these visiting leaders, one of the most prominent figures was Rahul Gandhi, a senior leader in the Congress party and a scion of the Gandhis. He made an early appearance during the initial days of the Manipur crisis, attracting significant media attention. While he expressed his views on various platforms across India, the situation in Manipur has remained fraught with unrest, with little change to show for his visit. It is important to note that the engagement wasn’t limited to just the Congress; leaders from an array of opposition parties made their way to Manipur during these trying times.
However, it must be acknowledged that the efforts of these visiting leaders were often marred by a sense of superficiality. Many of them seemed more interested in taking along media personnel to capture pictures and videos, as if to demonstrate their concern for Manipur, rather than effecting substantive change. The end result of these visits, unfortunately, was a continuation of the status quo, leaving the fresh wounds of Manipur unhealed and the pervasive unrest unresolved. Despite the earnest intentions expressed during these high-profile visits, they ultimately failed to translate into tangible solutions for the long-suffering people of Manipur. It appears that the Indian National Congress, along with the nine other political parties actively engaged as opposition in Manipur, is largely engaged in a facade of pressure and vocal expressions to assert their presence in the region. Their actions, though well-intentioned, often come across as symbolic rather than transformational. The current situation in Manipur calls for a more robust and influential opposition that can provide clear direction to the ruling parties and, crucially, restore public faith in the efficacy of the opposition.
In times of crisis, the public expects opposition parties not merely to be in opposition for the sake of existence but to play a pivotal role in holding the government accountable and shaping the policies that impact the lives of the people. These parties should act as a counterbalance to the ruling establishment, offering alternative solutions, and actively contributing to the betterment of the state. Unfortunately, it seems that the Congress and other opposition parties in Manipur have fallen short of these expectations. Their efforts, while visible and demonstrative, have often failed to yield the positive changes necessary to control and ultimately resolve the ongoing violent conflict between the Kuki and Meitei communities in Manipur. The situation in Manipur urgently requires not only a robust ruling party but also a strong opposition that can effectively challenge and guide the government’s actions.
The people of Manipur, in their quest for a peaceful and stable future, yearn for strong opposition parties that can serve as true custodians of democracy. It is crucial for the opposition to rise to the occasion, go beyond mere symbolism, and actively contribute to the betterment of Manipur, helping to bridge the deep divides and bring about lasting peace and harmony in the state. In a democracy, the vitality of the opposition is just as important as that of the ruling party in ensuring good governance and addressing the needs of the public.

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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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