From Zero Ibobi to Hero Ibobi and certainly Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh seems to have touched the right chord with the people of Kangpokpi. From a party which stood boycotted and condemned today it is “Long live O Ibobi Singh, Long live Congress Government.” Clearly the message from Kangpokpi district is loud and clear and certainly the Congress appears well placed in the three Assembly Constituencies which fall under the newly created district. Same is the case with Jiribam and suddenly, the man from Thoubal Assembly Constituency is the toast of the people, in these two newly created districts. The NSCN (IM) and the United Naga Council may be under the impression that they are fighting for a cause which is dear to the Nagas, but remember the longer the economic blockade is imposed and the more the gun shots are fired and the more policemen on duty are killed, the stronger the position of the Congress and the Chief Minister will be. The Congress already stands boycotted in the areas where the NSCN (IM) holds sway and to be sure the Congress will not be able to score there but it will certainly do much better in the other Assembly segments and it is here that it becomes clear that the upcoming Assembly election will be a deeply polarised one. A situation which the Congress and the Chief Minister seem set to exploit to the full. Unfortunate it is, but this is the reality.
The Centre too must have taken note of the deadly attacks along the Imphal-Moreh stretch of the highway on December 15 in which three policemen were killed and the natural question that follows is whether this will be treated as just a case of law and order situation which is a State subject. So it is that the creation of seven new districts, the seemingly free hand given to the NSCN (IM), the ongoing economic blockade imposed by the UNC since midnight of October 31, the Framework Agreement signed between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India in 2015, the demand that a mechanism be enacted to check the inflow of non-local people into the State and the demand that the Meetei/Meitei people be included in the ST list of the Constitution of India will impact on the coming Assembly election. And it is here that not only the stand of the Congress on these points become important but also the stand of the other political parties, particularly the BJP, which is poised to give a fight to the Congress. The decision to demonetise the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes will also go some way in impacting the voting behaviour of the people. In all the issues which have been spelt out, it is significant to note the divergent stand taken by the people in the hills and the valley and this is why one can expect a deeply polarised vote in 2017.
Source: The Sangai Express