Manipur Assembly polls: Can the BJP win the hearts of the people in the valley?


It could well be a 4th term for the Ibobi-led Congress government in Manipur for the sole reason of a lack of a formidable leadership in BJP this coming March 2017.

Will Manipur even be affected by the long touted ‘Modi wave’? One can only be sceptical. Yes. Modi’s LPG scheme of abundant availability of it have earn some goodwill in this northeastern state and also the non-existence of a prominent state leader had not stopped Maharashtra and Assam from dethroning a Congress government.

But in a state that have been hostile to outsiders so much so that the state witnessed a movement for the implementation of Inner line Permit (ILP), how much of a Modi charisma will work? One can’t help being utterly sceptical.

 And, will this valley-centric Congress Government giveaway for the BJP in the hills and tribal areas?

Then again, the anti-thesis is that the BJP has always been a nationalistic Hindu majoritorian party and its image of it could only further alienate the tribals which are almost cent percent Christians that inhabit the hills of Manipur.

Luckily for the BJP, the state Congress haven’t raised the issue of the woes faced by the people because of demonitisation.

One can’t help but wonder what a new BJP government will possibly look like. But can Manipur afford a change in leadership and government?

Also, the BJP isn’t clear how differently it is going to govern as compared to the Congress government so that the issue of the current economic blockade be solved.  What are the new changes in government and policies if it comes to power? The BJP isn’t clear in any of these problems and issues so far. 

On the other side, we have to acknowledge that there is much hatred towards the ruling Congress party by both the Kukis and Nagas – the two major tribes of Manipur who inhabits the hills of Manipur. 

The Kukis may not well forget for a long time to come about the loss of nine lives in the hands of the Manipur Battalion under Ibobi’s reign in Churachanpur. 

On the other hand, the United Naga Council is relentless in continuing the Economic blockade against the creation of 7 new districts in Manipur by the Ibobi Singh government. 

The hills dwellers have19 seats while the valley has 41 seats in the 60 member Manipur Legislative Assembly. Therefore, the big question now is: Can the BJP win the hearts of the people in the valley? How much the valley (which is predominantly inhabited by Hindus) embrace the BJP will be the deciding factor if at all the BJP have to come to power.

But BJP needs a strong leader in Manipur. Economy is just another very important concern. The problem of Manipur is a political one and we need not have another puppet of Modi but someone whose leadership have been proven. Does Manipur BJP have that? No. All novice. A political dwarf shouldn’t rule the state for the mere benefits he will get from the centre economically for being a satellite state of the ruling party at the centre.

As for Irom Sharmila, there is no doubt that she had fought a long and hard battle against the implementation of AFSPA.

But can she do both an Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal is weaving false hopes and way too ambitious. The verdict of Manipur Assembly Election 2017 could well conclude that Irom Sharmila was better off as a human rights activist. , I am media graduate from St. Xavier’s, Mumbai. And studied East Asian studied with specialisation in China studies. I have written for The Hindu and have worked as a correspondent for Forward Press Magazine.I am also currently pursuing a PG in mass communication from Manipur University. I am media curious and have special interest in politics. I am a meitei (valley dweller) from Imphal and resides in Imphal.

(Halley Nongmaithem  is a media graduate from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai. She has written for The Hindu and worked as a Correspondent for Forward Press Magazine. She is currently pursuing PG in Mass Communication from Manipur University. She is media curious and has special interest in politics. She lives in Imphal, Manipur.)