Does Manipur want another spell of Congress rule or will it go for a change come voting day on March 4 and March 8. Tough to say but it is important to question whether such a thing as anti- incumbency will have a say on how the voters behave or not. This question is interesting in the face of the fact that unlike the last Assembly election in 2012, the Congress has a competitor this time, and a tough one at that in the BJP and it will be interesting to see how the party which has ruled the State for the last 15 years will try to extend their spell in power for another term and how successfully the saffron party will be able to ring out the message that the time for change has come. As pointed out on more than one occasion, the longer the United Naga Council continue with the economic blockade, the better the prospect of the Congress will be and it will be interesting to see how the BJP will try not to make the economic blockade the deciding factor in the upcoming Assembly election. Blockade is not new to Manipur and remember when the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee and the United Naga Council, one after the other, imposed the more than 120 days of economic blockade over the Sadar Hills issue at the fag end of 2011. That blockade did work in the favour of the Congress then if one takes into consideration the fact that the Congress returned with a thumping majority, winning 42 seats in the 2012 Assembly election.
The more than 120 days economic blockade and the absence of a viable alternative to the Congress scripted the resounding success story of the Congress back in 2012, and the question is whether this will be repeated this time too. Much will however depend on how the BJP manages to hammer home the point that the economic blockade cannot and should not be an election issue. This is where the interesting part lies and much will depend on the political acumen of the BJP leaders not to make the blockade an issue around which the poll should centre. Tough to say how the BJP will go about doing it, for remember the ongoing economic blockade has affected the daily existence of the common people and it is the voice of the common people which will ultimately matter the most when election time comes. Apart from the blockade, the Congress will no doubt go to town with the message that the first list of the BJP candidates has numerous former Congress MLAs. It is not without reason why the slogan “Vote for BJP and elect your old Congress MLA” has gone viral on social networking sites. Again it is this which the BJP has to counter. Interesting days are certainly ahead.
Source: The Sangai Express