From the Skybus advertisements that adorn the front page of all the major newspapers published from Imphal, it should be clear that Mr Okram Ibobi is the man the BJP is after. Underlining the point that the Chief Minister is today no longer seen as just the Chief Minister of Manipur, but as someone synonymous with the Congress party and this is saying something a lot for the man from Thoubal Assembly Constituency, who is originally from Khangabok Assembly Constituency. If the BJP has gone from strength to strength after the 2014 Parliamentary election, then Chief Minister O Ibobi too seems to have gone from strength to strength in the last few months, particularly after the State Government went ahead and created seven new districts. As stated numerous times in this column, the ongoing economic blockade has gone to add more muscle to the armoury of the Chief Minister and this is a point which even the United Naga Council must have acknowledged, though not publicly. So in taking the Congress in the Assembly election here, the BJP has made it known that their first target is the Chief Minister and to erode the credibility of the Congress, what better tactic than to target the Chief Minister ? This is the line that the think tank of the BJP has adopted, somewhat alike to how the other Opposition parties do when the stage is at the National level by going after the personality of Narendra Modi.
Now with the focus on the second phase election, of which many of the Assembly Constituencies fall under Naga dominated districts, especially in Chandel, Senapati, Tamenglong and Ukhrul, it will be interesting to see how the BJP changes its tactics now. This observation will become clearer if understood in the backdrop of the fact that issues between the hills and the valley are very, very different and even run counter to each other. So if the territorial integrity of the State is an issue which is dear to the people of the valley, the opposite is the case with the Naga dominated districts. How will BJP go ahead and deal with this reality will be interesting to watch. And this again should be understood in the context of the war of words between the two parties in the daily newspapers, which come as news and advertisements. How much the war of words will impact on the voters is anyone’s guess, but clearly this is a signal that both parties are taking the election very seriously. So seriously that in fact, it will not be surprising if the effects can be felt even after the poll results are announced on March 11.
Source: The Sangai Express