Two phased election. One on March 4 and the second on March 8. Would be foolhardy to read the election tea leaves at this point of time, but definitely Manipur will see a deeply polarised voting pattern when the voters hit the button on the EVMs in the two phased election. At the centre of the deeply polarised election will be the Congress and the BJP. One seeking to return to power for the fourth consecutive term and the other looking to become the State after Assam and more recently Arunachal Pradesh to form the Government in the North East. The Narendra Modi wave may have worn off to a certain degree, but he still remains the main draw of the BJP and it remains to be seen how the voters here will warm up to his personality when voting day comes. And when one is talking about the Prime Minister, then surely the Congress will use every opportunity it gets to discredit the demonetisation move, which caught the Nation by shock nearly two months back. The BJP on the other hand will obviously have enough ammos to counter the charges that may come via the demonetisation decision, and it as yet unclear how far this will impact on the voting behaviour of the people. This may be pan India, but demonetisation definitely impacted on the daily life of the common people here and it will be interesting to see how this is used in the run up to the election. Other than demonetisation, the creation of the seven new districts will definitely influence the voters and this is where the Congress may be said to have gained grounds at Kangpokpi district, which gets to send three MLAs to the Assembly.
And when one talks about the impact of the seven new districts on the voting pattern of the people, then it surely reflects on how deeply polarised the three major communities in the State are. This is what is unfortunate and extremely unhealthy for the people and the State. It is this division which political parties and politicians will try to capitalise on especially during election time. All the more reason for the people to be wary of the propaganda that may be launched by different political parties. Other than the political parties and candidates, one also need to be wary of the agenda of the different civil society organisations which will undoubtedly try to influence the voting behaviour of the people. This is where the law enforcing agencies need to up their ante and ensure that the voters get to exercise their franchise right without intimidation. This is all that more so in the hill districts, where armed groups are known to issue diktats and force the people to vote for the party they prefer. The task ahead is obviously not easy but this is what democracy is all about and it is unfortunate but true that Manipur will see such a deeply polarised vote when D day comes.
Source: The Sangai Express