Now destination Manipur! But why?
Manipur is now the common destination for top political leaders even after the rebel outfits refusing to relent. Apart from BJP leaders from New Delhi, Union minister and Prime Minister had hurricane visit to the restive north eastern state. National media people have also been touring the state of Irom Sharmila focusing the prospect of the political parties in the pre poll landscape. But why the state starts witnessing this massive footfall of the tourists? The answer is simple: electioneering and nothing else.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on a day long visit to the state to campaign for the party who sought only a couple of months to change the face of the state with BJP in power. In his poll address in Imphal on Saturday, Modi assured that his Government at the Centre will not do even an iota that could hurt the sentiment of the people. He charged Okram Ibobi Singh Government and his party of spreading lies on the peace framework with NSCN(IM). He said, “we apprised the Government of the accord a year and a half ago. And now they start spreading lies before the elections for political mileage.”
But never did he said anything about the fate of the Arms Forces Special (Powers) Act which keeps the state on the boil, which forced Irom Sharmila to take resort to hunger strike. But his government refused to blink.
Modi came to the state a couple of days after Rajnath Singh in a few poll rallies promised not to compromise Manipur’s territorial integrity. Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Himanta Biswa Sarma were among those who campaigned for the party.
Top Congress leaders are also keep visiting the state assuring the people of the Ibobi Singh Government’s performance in fresh vigour. Rahul Gandhi is also campaigning for the ruling party heaping praising on the Ibobi Government for putting the state on the wheels of development.
But all eyes are fixed on the Thoubal constituency where two time Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh is pitted against Irom Sharmila who broke her decade long fast to make her entry into politics to make the Centre bound to repeal the draconian AFSPA. Within a short spell of time her Peoples' Resurgence and Justice Alliance is getting good response. She wants Chief Ministership to show the people of Manipur the “real democracy”. Her party has fielded only three candidates. But Congress leadership in the state told South Asian Views that PRJA is not force to be reckoned with. Her party meetings have no huge gatherings. On the contrary, the Congress rallies are pact suggesting the party’s good poll prospects.
BJP has no key regional allies and National People's Party, Naga People's Front and the Lok Janshakti Party are going it alone. Polls for the 60-member legislative assembly will take place on March 4 and March 8 where the big fight confines to Congress and BJP.
In view of the rebel activities, the authority is deploying an additional 30 companies of Central paramilitary forces in Manipur to help the state conduct the polls smoothly. Altogether 280 CPRF will be deployed for election duty in the state caught in the three-month-long economic blockade by the United Naga Council along the highways.