Poll theatrics in Manipur


Free Thinker
Political leaders are busy in election hustings for the approaching polls on 4th and 8th March. They are criticizing one another; blaming one another for the sorry state of affairs of the State. It has become an open competition for polemics and tirades. Who is more corrupt? Who is more patriotic? Who is responsible for the prolonged trust-deficit among the people? Who is going to protect the unity and integrity? etc., etc. Obviously, these are ponderable political points. However, for the common voters there are very crucial things which are directly linked with their existence. At the first stage, it is to ensure their food, clothing and shelter; at the second stage, people are supposed to have excess to education, employment and healthcare (basic); the third stage is more about their augmented well-being, well-off, longevity of life, entertainment, contribution to society, charity etc. We are stuck somewhere in between the first stage and second.
Our politicians keep changing their Parties. More or less the same set of people are in politics. Whether they are in BJP or Congress or CPI or MPP or NPP or PRJA or NPF etc. they indulge in the same old theatrics of running down and dressing down one another in public. All of them resort to futile diatribes without substance but for political survival and winning elections. Today the fundamental issues are more about good education, better employment opportunities, improved healthcare system, expanded infrastructure and of course greater amusement facilities. These things are miserably lacking. We need to work collectively for these. Unfortunately, we are spending most of our time, money and energy on law and order, petty-ethnic-politics, meaningless-land-ownership issues, etc. Let me remind you that the most powerful man on earth lives on rent called the ‘White House’, that too only for 4 years, extendable by another 4. Everything is temporary, don’t be misled by the promised permanent land or house or job.
Assuming that everyone in the state has food, clothing and shelter (not to talk of quality). We are still unable to provide potable piped-water to the entire population. Water is available but the problem is about storage, treatment and distribution. Even for electricity, hills are not fully electrified though the valley has now somewhat stable power supply. Again, the quality of education is far from satisfaction. Unemployment is one of the highest in the country in terms of ratio. Roads and bridges are not maintained properly. The drainage system in the capital area is horrible. Condition of national highways are extremely pathetic. Why insurgency, blockades and bandhs are perennial? Instead of mudslinging let the candidates or parties bring out road-maps to address these intricate issues. Everyone is changing the Party/ideology every now and then particularly on the eve of elections. Today she is in Congress and tomorrow she will be in BJP; last time he was in CPI now he is in BJP; day- before- yesterday he was in MPP now he is in BJP; he was a committed Congress leader till recently and now he is in NPP; She was close to TMC now she is very close to Lotus. It is maddening in Manipur; BJP spokesperson becomes Congress spokesperson and vice versa. Parties and ideologies hardly matter as long as you intend to do something good for the people and for the State.
Perhaps the people of Manipur do not take the issue of corruption seriously. Because they are quite used to it and it has become a part of their life-style; and they also acknowledge the fact that it is indispensable in every society except for the degree and magnitude. Though corruption is rampant in the state the level is too low (in most of the cases) to take cognizance of. I believe, the entire yearly bribery amount of the state is less than a kick-back of buying some helicopters or a single NPA of a liquor baron. I am not justifying corruption but I am just conjecturing. We all are corrupt; what really matters is, who is less corrupt and who is more corrupt? Let us leave it to the common sense of the people while casting their votes.
As far as our land and territory is concerned we have no say except yelling and protesting. Because the Union Government (Parliament) has the sole power and authority to redraw the state boundaries (Art. 3 of the Constitution). Consultation with the concerned States is not even required when a new state is created or the boundary of a state is changed. My humble hypothetical interjection is that, is it politically prudent, historically correct and morally right to divide the tiny state of Sikkim (which was merged with India in 1975) into three states, one for Lepchas, another for Bhutias and one another for Nepalis (to be integrated with Gorkhaland of Darjeeling)? Same paradigm is applicable to us. “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” (GBS)

Source: The Sangai Express


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