Indisposed MPP

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Manipur Peoples’ Party which is the oldest regional political party of the state has found a new love – the Bharatiya Janata Party. The party has decided to give unalloyed support to BJP in the upcoming Parliamentary election of the state. MPP took birth at a time when regional politics was gaining momentum in the southern states of India. Political party like the DMK was formed in 1967. MPP was formed in the subsequent year. A dissident group from the Indian National Congress led by Yumnam Yaima and Salam Tombi with other members formed the party. Was the party firmly grounded on regionalist line at the time of its formation while regional politics was sharpening up in the south Indian states? Or was it an outcome of power tussle within the Indian National Congress which paved way for the dissident group to form another political party riding on the regional sentiment? There might also be other factors which could have shaped the political move. So a tangible answer to the above questions will have its pitfalls as political formations are a mixture of complex game plans and shrouded aspirations. The decision of the party to support BJP in the Lok Sabha election perhaps gives hindsight as far as its ‘regionalist’ commitment is concern. Explaining the party’s stand to support BJP, the president has reaffirmed the party’s love for Manipur and safeguarding the territorial integrity of the state as their priority. Beyond doubt, ‘safeguarding territorial integrity’ is a catchphrase which every single political party would print in their manifestos; the same words would be heard repetitively in the campaigns. BJP leader P.V. Acharya was quick in embracing the words of MPP president into the larger national fold of his party. That his party BJP is committed in nation building, the issue of protecting the territorial integrity of the state is part of the national agenda. Well said. Political party like the BJP is philosophically committed to an Akhand Bharat (greater India), which does not endorse regionalism. They see it as a diversion from the national building project. A pan Indian Hindu Rashtra is their ideological bedrock. A regional political party like the MPP which once had held power in the state, on the other hand, is in a state of bedlam. This is evident with the change in their leadership, their shifting of affiliation from one party to another. Th. Chaoba, the current state BJP president, other important figures like H. Bhubon Singh, though politically inactive now, and L. Jatra have been prominent faces of MPP. All of them have shifted their allegiance to BJP. O. Joy being the last to decamp has not yet announced his affiliation with any party. RK. Anand and Ng. Bijoy are the two other heavyweights who have left MPP to join the Congress. It seems the regionalist agenda of the MPP is just a garb to accomplish personal political aspiration. Those who have decamped the party have apparently realise that it is no longer pragmatic to stick to a regionalist political vision. Or in simple words, the easiest way to become MLA or minister is to join a party, whatever may be its ideology: the party should be able to give ample patronage for self-gratification. With the anti-incumbency factor looming large in the national politics, the MPP hopes to draw political lifeblood by supporting BJP. We hope the party is not committing a political hara-kiri. The party had managed to win eighteen seats in Assembly election during the 90s. We might not hear of them like the Federal Party of Manipur, anymore.

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