31st December. The last working day in a calendar year and while the last day of the year gone by was like any other day, perhaps it would be in line to look back at the year gone by on the first working day of the year, 2nd January of 2017. Like any other year, this time too, the first working day of the new year too is the same, but a look back at the just gone by 365 days, will more than demonstrate that 2016 was not like any other year. True, hartals, stand off with the Government and economic blockade are staple diets of the State, but there is a difference in the ongoing economic blockade and the other similar stir seen in the past. Perhaps what makes the ongoing blockade different is that unlike the past, the present blockade continued even during Christmas and the winter break that comes at this point of time every year. This is also the first time that the divide spawned by an economic blockade took such a turn with the counter blockade that was imposed in different parts of the valley area. It is this divide which is deeply disturbing and if not for anything else then 2016 will surely be remembered for the ugly stand off between the people, or more particularly between the Meiteis and the Nagas. In other words, when one looks back at 2016, the year just gone by will not be remembered for the economic blockade alone but also for the creation of the seven new districts, which sowed the seeds of the present economic blockade and the divide.
In as much as the ongoing economic blockade and the creation of the seven new districts will be remembered when one looks back at 2016, it also stands that the two issues will impact on the upcoming Assembly election. More than evident that Chief Minister O Ibobi and the Congress seem well set to reap the biggest dividend from the creation of the new districts, though the Congress will stand no chance in the Naga dominated hill districts. This however will be offset by the gains the party seems set to make in Kangpokpi district, which gets to send three MLAs in the House of 60. It is also more than likely that the Congress will gain dividends at Jiribam, which is already in its kitty. So the more advantageous the situation is for the Congress the more sticky the situation will be for the BJP and this is what must be happening to the saffron party at the moment. The district creation issue will however not end with the economic blockade and there may be fresh trouble, when the district maps are drawn up. How the coming Government intends to deal with the matter remains to be seen, but already it is clear that creating districts does not begin and end with inaugurating a district, for there still remains the delicate task of drawing up the district maps. A more than enough indication that what happened in 2016 will surely be carried on into the new year.
Source : The Sangai Express