The BJP has made it clear that they will go in for the polls without naming a Chief Ministerial candidate. For the Congress the question is more or less settled with O Ibobi set to be the Chief Minister provided Congress returns to power. No wonder then that the man from Thoubal Assembly Constituency has been at the centre of all the verbal attacks launched by the BJP, especially in the Skybus advertisements that have been hitting all the major newspapers published in Imphal. While it remains to be seen which party will emerge as the largest party after the election, it is more than appropriate to question whether Mr O Ibobi actually fits the bill of a leader or not. A look at the past elections after the 2002 Assembly polls, should be more than enough indication that O Ibobi is the man for the Congress. The question however is whether O Ibobi actually fits the bill of a leader of the State. Given the fact that this time the election will be a highly polarised one, with the hills and the valley having different and contrasting agenda, it will be tough to find a man or a woman who can fit the bill of a leader who is acceptable across the State. This is where it becomes worrisome and is one primary reason why the election will be highly polarised. And as things stand today, the Congress stands boycotted in the Naga dominated hill districts and this in effect is a standing statement that the Nagas have rejected the leadership of O Ibobi.
Fifteen years in power and yet one section of the people strongly opposed to the Congress and O Ibobi and the natural question that arises is whether this has been planned or is a reflection of the political reality where the political aspirations of the people run counter to each other. The ongoing economic blockade called by the United Naga Council has only made things worse and as noted here many times earlier, such a situation will only strengthen the prospect of O Ibobi and the party he represents, the Congress. Again it is here question may be asked as to why the oldest political party in the country and the party which has ruled Manipur for the longest period of time should be synonymous with one political figure. Are the Nagas boycotting the Congress or boycotting O Ibobi ? Only the UNC and other Naga civil society organisations can answer this question, but more than sure that this is a question which has never been deliberated upon with the seriousness it deserves. And this is where the BJP too seems to have failed in projecting a leader who can be acceptable all over the State. Stating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the face of the BJP in the election is fine, but that leaves open the question of where the State BJP leaders stand. To a party like the BJP and the Congress, the election may not be about individual, but in reality the leader they project can have a deep impact on the election. Remember the difference that Narendra Modi made in the 2014 Parliamentary election.
Source: The Sangai Express