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Why the delay in announcing candidates for Manipur’s LS polls?

by Editorial Team
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Why the delay in announcing candidates for Manipur’s LS polls?

Following the announcement of the notification for the 18th Lok Sabha Election in Manipur by the Chief Electoral Officer, the political arena in the state has seen significant activity. While the CPI has declared its candidate for Inner Manipur, the Congress has put forth its contender for Outer Manipur, and the NPF for the same constituency. However, the ruling BJP is yet to disclose its nominees for both the Inner and Outer Manipur Parliamentary constituencies.
Amidst this anticipation, the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee has recommended candidates to the All India Congress Committee (AICC), but the final candidate for Inner Manipur is still pending announcement, raising speculation. There are murmurs suggesting that the INC might be holding back its decision until the BJP unveils its candidates, potentially allowing for strategic adjustments to compete against the ruling party.
Rumours are circulating that the BJP might field Chief Minister N. Biren Singh for the Inner seat. If this materializes, it could prompt the INC to reconsider its strategy, possibly opting for former Chief Minister Okram Ibobi, setting aside the initially recommended candidates. However, official confirmation on these speculations is yet to surface, keeping political observers on edge. Regarding the outer seat, the ruling BJP could be thinking to announce a candidate from among the Naga community or may go in hands with the NPF, given that Meiteis form a large majority in the constituency and would vote against Kuki candidates.
The delay in candidate selection by these parties reflects the difficulties in practical politics. Traditionally, financial resources played a significant role in determining winnability. However, the current scenario demands more than just monetary backing. Given the heightened ethnic feelings among the community, the electorate now seeks politically articulate and charismatic leaders who can represent their interests. This evolving criterion has posed challenges for major parties like the BJP and Congress, struggling to identify suitable candidates who meet these new standards. This shift in criteria has left major parties grappling with the selection process. Unlike before, where candidate selection may have been a straightforward affair, the current landscape demands a deeper understanding of community dynamics and nuanced political articulation.
Many speculations have been made on who will be the candidates from these two parties. However, these speculations are not due to an abundance of towering leaders within these parties, but rather because candidates must meet stringent criteria for winnability. This includes effectively articulating the concerns of various communities, such as the Meitei people for the candidates of Inner Manipur. The absence of obvious frontrunners within parties like the Congress and BJP in Manipur highlight a deeper issue—a crisis of leadership in the state. This conundrum shows they do not have leaders who have grown organically within the parties and who are also mass leaders. Therefore, these parties continually find themselves scouting for suitable faces and forming alliances with various interest groups in candidate selection in every election, but this time, things are more difficult than before.
In conclusion, the delay in candidate selection for Manipur’s Lok Sabha polls is not mere a strategic move from these parties but a reflection of the evolving political dynamics and the demand for more nuanced leadership by the general public. As parties deliberate over their choices, they must recognize the significance of genuine representation and the imperative of addressing the concerns of Manipur’s diverse populace.

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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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