All political parties, particularly the Congress should pay attention to this call. Do not use the Framework Agreement for electoral gains, is the call rung out by the United Committee Manipur (UCM), Committee of Civil Societies, Kangleipak (CCSK) and Nongchup Imphal Meira Paibi Lup (NIMPAL) during the public meeting held at Keishampat Lairembi community hall on February 21. The All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) may not have said this as overtly, but the series of campaign it has launched in different parts of the State to demand the finer details of the Framework Agreement can also be seen as an effort of civil society organisations, sans political parties, piling the pressure on the Government of India not to meddle with the territorial integrity of Manipur. That no one should use the Framework Agreement as a political tool to sway the people’s mood in the run up to the Assembly election is a point which has already been laid down by The Sangai Express in an earlier commentary and the stand of these civil society organisations vindicates the stand of this paper. Extracting assurances from all the political parties not to meddle with the territorial integrity of Manipur at the altar of the ongoing peace talk with the NSCN (IM) and using the Framework Agreement for electoral purposes are two entirely different things and all should come to this point. When it comes to the territory of Manipur, it should transcend political divides and unite all under one roof.
No doubt the coming election is important to the Congress and the BJP and to all the other political parties as well. This however should not mean that a line cannot be drawn when it comes to campaigning for the election. A line that says that protecting the territorial integrity of Manipur cannot be the sole preserve of any single political party but is a responsibility of everyone. This is a point which should be acknowledged by everyone and all political parties. On the other hand it also stands that the 2017 Assembly election promises to be a deeply polarised one. What works in the valley will not work in the hills and vice versa. Moreover what works in the Naga dominated hill districts will not work in the Kuki-Chin dominated districts and vice versa. A clear reflection that though the election is to be held to elect 60 MLAs to the Legislative Assembly of Manipur, the idea of Manipur as a geo-political entity has not cut ice with a good many section of people. Herein lies the deep divide between the hills and the valley and why the Framework Agreement has become the rallying point for some political parties to win the support of the voters, for different reasons. So it will not be surprising if the Framework Agreement is sung in different tunes in the hills and the valley and this is precisely the reason why the call not to use this as an election tool has been raised.
Source: The Sangai Express