The BJP-led government at the Centre and the party are making an increased focus on Manipur. The BJP striving to make it big, as it did in Assam, will be an uphill task, as the ruling Congress had achieved an unprecedented 42 seats in the 60-member House in the last elections.
The Centre is setting up a sports university in the State and the University of Culture was recently opened in capital city Imphal. Apart from several developmental projects, including a rail line connecting Imphal, statues of freedom fighters have been erected in Hojai, a Manipuri-dominated area in Assam.
Khetrimayum Bhabananda, a politician with a clean political record, was made the State BJP president. It was seen as a move aimed at tackling the Congress which has been in power for three consecutive terms. All former Chief Ministers, Ministers, party presidents and other major players of the BJP have been sidelined.
“The influence of the BJP is such that it will wrest power in the next polls,” Mr. Bhabananda had said.
Former BJP president and election strategist Thounaojam Chaoba said, “We opened our accounts by winning both the seats in the recent by-polls. Now, many Congressmen are scrambling to join the BJP”.
‘No Modi wave’
Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei, however, denied that there is a ‘Modi wave’ in Manipur. “The BJP won the two by-elections due to some other reasons and not because of the Modi wave.”
Congress spokesperson Nongthombam Biren told The Hindu that no Congress MLA is joining any party. State unit Congress president T.N. Haokip said, “Being a big family there may be sometimes difference of opinions. No MLA shall leave the party when elections are round the corner as we have a track record”.
Floor crossing is not an uncommon phenomenon in Manipur. No Chief Minister has completed his full five-year term in the State. Ministers and MLAs are known to demand more from the chief ministers. One tribal MLA had created a record by changing loyalty four times in a single day.
Over the years, the electoral battle has always been between the two parties. And, it’s going to be the same this time too.
Source: The Hindu