Manipur Election 2017: BJP bowing to NPF may appeal Christian tribals, but disenchant Hindu voters in Meitei planes

December 27, 2016 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Imphal, December 25, 2016: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a major jolt in poll-bound Manipur after one of its sitting MLA Khumukcham Joykishan resigned and joined prime rival Congress. The jumpship will serve as a setback to the saffron party, which has been campaigning aggressively in the state in wake of upcoming assembly elections. Not only was Joykishan the only sitting MLA of BJP in Manipur legislative assembly, he is also a prominent leader among the Meitei Hindus, whom the BJP is reportedly considering as a vote bank moving into the upcoming polls. According to pollsters, BJP’s extensive reach out to ally Nagaland People’s Front, may help the party to appeal the Christian tribals of the hills, but it could disenchant the Hindus in the Meitei plains.

Following the resignation of Manipur’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Khumukcham Joykishan and the news of him joining the Congress seems to have shifted the prospects of the BJP government in poll-bound Manipur also at the same time raising serious doubts on the political strategy of the party in the State.

According to The North East Today, Joykishan’s resignation  has attracted headlines not only because he joined the Congress at a point of time when the Congress Party has not much of a chance as an alternative to BJP, but also because it brings forth the flaws in the BJP’s act of handling the Naga Peace talks.

As per an Imphal Time report, the resignation of the MLA was a consequence of an ultimatum issued by a civil society organisation to boycott BJP if it fails in unfolding any form of a framework  of agreement between the Centre and NSCN (IM) by December 24. According to TNT reports, since very little was known, even to the party members about the ongoing peace talks, it was seemingly unlikely that the demad of the public would have been met and Joykishan resigned before it was too late.

This resignation also questions the shift in the perception of the Party amongst the Meitii public , as Joykishan was one of the only two BJP members in Manipur Legislative Assembly.

In the light of the recent economic blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC) as a protest against the Manipur Government’s move to  create new districts bifurcating Naga inhabited land, the framework of Naga peace talks came into focus.

According to the same TNT report, the Congress has brought forward a new narrative where it is emphasising that the BJP government is siding with the Nagas in the present crisis.  In an interview with The Indian Express, chief minister of Manipur, Okram Ibobi Singh, said that since the central government is in talks with the NSCN(IM), they can easily put pressure on the UNC to call off the blockade and ease the suffering of the people. According to him, as tension escalated he went to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh but found no favourable response from him.

Reportedly, many in the Meitis and Kuki intelligentsia are of the opinion that BJP is playing fiddle to the NPF in Manipur, in an attempt to capture power. In such a scenario, the possibility of the Congress led Manipur Government reclaiming the support of the Hindu voters in the Meitei planes seems very high, which might prove detrimental for the BJP.

– india

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