Organisational Duties


Political parties in India are generally organised like pyramids with a few leaders at the top and scores of local party officials and thousands of members at their base. National and state parties have offices at the national, state and local levels. In Parliamentary elections the degree of cohesiveness among the leaders of the local level organizations with the upper hierarchy contributes largely towards the fate of the party candidates. Most district or Kendra level units of political parties are small and poorly financed and the members are more interested in securing recognition and favor from the office bearers of the party administration, legislatures, or ministers and the chief minister if the party is at the helm of power, rather than caring about the party`s policy and program. Thus, there is nothing more inspirational, especially during elections times, to the grassroots workers than these senior party leaders paying visits to their villages and towns to spend some time with them for `discussion of their grievances and organizational shortcomings.` And, according to observations in the political circles in Manipur, where round the clock   activities at the base units have simply vanished, such whirlwind stops by the senior party leaders on the eve of polls are the fashionable patterns.

Thus, the clarion call from the Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee chief Gaikhangam to ministers and MLAs of his party to make their presence at the Congress Bhavan and other party unit offices a regular exercise carries great significance. Interestingly, the deputy chief minister expressed his disenchantment at the problem of elected representatives abandoning administrative activities altogether at a meeting of the Seva Dal, which is the grassroots front organization of the party. The timing of his call may have been triggered by many factors including the hectic activities taken up at the block and frontal organizations levels by the resuscitated state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In any case, it narrates the harsh realities of the widespread detest for participation in administrative work and organizational matters among the new breed of politicians. Gaikhangam speech was honest and factually correct about the extent to which those involved in electoral politics, whether they be elected leaders or unsuccessful or fresh aspirants, not limited to the Congress party alone, have been neglecting their duties at the organizational scenes. The inference that ministers and MLAs from the Congress are not spending even two hours in a month at the administrative headquarter or with the party workers speaks volume of their confinement to electoral politics and obliviousness to other aspects of political responsibilities towards the party and the public. Also, Gaikhangam indicated that the elected representatives have no concern for maintaining communication with the lower level leaders and workers even at their own constituencies. If the Congress chief was compelled to show his frustration at the leaders` lackadaisical attitude to party organization we can just imagine the mortifying state of affairs of other political parties having few or no representations at the local bodies or the Assembly. The affable former chief minister W Nipamacha had summed up this phenomenon most fittingly while intervening at a spate between two senior leaders at a packed celebration after the MSCP was reinstated in power some years back. Be sensible and enjoy the good fortune of each other company, he told the leaders at the function hosted at the party`s erstwhile office at Nityaipat Chuthek. Because, if and when the party is ousted from power, not a single fly will be seen at the office, he had warned.


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