Manipur polls 2017: Why Ibobi Singh-led Congress may win yet again?
While Congress seems to be confident in forming Government, BJP hopes to repeat Assam in Manipur.
Manipur has been simmering under "infamous" reports of human rights violations, fake encounters, corruption, militancy and what not, in the 15-year-long Congress rule in the state with Okram Ibobi Singh as its Chief Minister.
But, whenever, election knocks on state's door, the June 18, 2001, incident, in which 18 people were killed during an agitation for the protection of territorial integrity of Manipur, has always been put forth by Congress party.
The incident broke out during the then BJP government in the Centre, when the ceasefire agreement with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) was extended "without territorial limits", threatening the territorial integrity of the Manipur.
With the Naga Peace Accord 2015 and United Naga Council's blockade in question, both involving NSCN-IM, Manipuri people are expected to have chosen Congress to serve the state this time also in the recently held Assembly election.
Naga Peace Accord 2015
From Congress president Sonia Gandhi to vice-president Rahul Gandhi to CM Okram Ibobi, Congress leaders have been mounting allegations against PM Modi for keeping people of Manipur in the dark about the contents of the Naga Peace Accord, which was signed in 2015, between the central government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).
Many a time, and even more during the election campaigns 2017, Manipur CM Ibobi racked up the issue, which has been his "trump card" for this year's Assembly election, cautioning the people of the state that the Naga accord could threaten the territorial integrity of the state.
Recently, the 3-time CM Ibobi demanded Centre to disclose the details of the accord online, so that the people can decide whether it will compromise the territorial integrity of the state or not.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, which is eyeing to do an Assam in Manipur, seems to be on the back foot on this part, as they have not come out with a "concrete proof" to show that the accord wouldn't compromise the territorial integrity of the state apart from alleging the state CM of misleading the people about the accord.
It's been already 4 months and 10 days and still continuing. The United Naga Council (UNC) has been imposing the blockade on Imphal-Dimapur NH-2 and the Imphal-Jiribam NH 37, which are the lifeline highways of landlocked Manipur, since November 1, after the state government decided to bifurcate Naga-dominated areas and create seven new districts claiming that the move was taken up for "better administration".
The blockade, which has brought mayhem in the state, is seen as a direct attack by the NSCN-IM, which is alleged to be mother organisation of UNC, to the people of the state, majorly the Meitei community living in the valley, which constitutes 60 percent of the state's population. Petrol is being sold between Rs 150 -250 in many areas in the black market, if available, and supply of essential commodities have also been severely hit.
For political gains in the recent polls, by doing nothing to end it, BJP and Congress had been busy debating over the blockade since it started on November 1. While PM Modi-led BJP government blamed the Ibobi-led Congress government in the state for its "inability" to end the blockade, CM Ibobi berated the Centre, saying that BJP should put pressure on UNC to call off the blockade, since they are in peace talks with the (NSCN) IM.
Manipur voted on March 4 and 8 in two phases for the 60 Assembly seats and as the territorial integrity plays a major part in this north-eastern state's election with an addition of the "unstoppable" more than 4-month-long blockade, Congress might have the last laugh on March 11.