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Lok Sabha election provides a way forward for the protracted ethnic conflict

by Editorial Team
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Lok Sabha election provides a way forward for the protracted ethnic conflict

Amidst the tumult of electoral politics, the controversy surrounding the Congress party’s manifesto has unexpectedly become a platform for exploring potential resolutions to the enduring ethnic conflict. Despite the customary mudslinging, both political factions find themselves embroiled in a fervent discourse regarding what the Congress terms as the “path of Truth and Reconciliation” and the pursuit of a political and administrative settlement to bring an end to the protracted strife. Previously, advocating for peace was fraught with peril, with many facing threats and reprisals for daring to pursue reconciliation. However, the electoral process has presented a unique opportunity to openly deliberate on these matters without fear of repercussion, thereby creating a space for constructive dialogue on the way forward.
While the BJP has predominantly focused on critiquing the Congress manifesto, alleging its alignment with the aspirations of the Kukis, its own manifesto remains forthcoming. The Manipur BJP appears to have abstained from proposing any concrete solutions to the ongoing conflict, particularly in the Outer Manipur region where the majority of Kukis reside. Thus far, BJP’s campaign efforts have centred on symbolic gestures such as the christening of Mount Manipur and INS Imphal, as well as highlighting the suspension of the Free Movement Regime and the imminent implementation of a National Registry of Citizenship in Manipur. However, the campaign has yet to articulate a substantive plan for addressing the entrenched animosity between the Kukis and Meiteis.
The gravity of the situation cannot be overstated, as Meiteis from the valley find themselves effectively trapped, their movements impeded by blockades enforced by Kuki militants. Imphal, the heart of Manipur, is besieged by restrictions on the mobility of the Meitei populace, further intensifying the urgency for a resolution to the conflict. Despite the BJP’s delay in presenting a proposal, its confidence in electoral success suggests that prioritizing debates on solutions to the violent crisis may not be deemed essential for securing victory. Nevertheless, the imperative for resolution looms large, with the forthcoming Lok Sabha election serving as a critical juncture for advancing peace and reconciliation in the region.
While the extent to which these discussions on matters such as the Suspension of Operations, ST demands, and the path forward will influence the voting behavior of the general public remains uncertain—given that these deliberations predominantly engage the educated middle classes—there exists a glimmer of hope for a resolution. Although the underlying motivations may be suspected, with many potentially swayed by monetary incentives and other inducements, the fact that crucial issues are being openly discussed offers a semblance of progress. Amidst the uncertainties of electoral politics, the ongoing dialogue provides a ray of hope, albeit tempered by the realities of influence peddling and vote-buying.

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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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