Congress gifted two seats: An outcome of inept handling of Manipur ethnic conflict

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File photo: Kho John's Lok Sabha polls campaign in Senapati, 2024/Ukhrul Times

THE WRITING on the wall was there right from the time the 2024 parliamentary elections were announced. No one came forward for BJP tickets for both the parliamentary constituencies of Manipur. For the Outer Manipur constituency, the NPF aggressively foisted its candidate and the BJP, bereft of any ticket seekers, was relieved to support its ally. In the Inner Manipur constituency, there was a drama and the BJP found their fall guy in gentleman – Shri Th. Basanta Singh, education minister. But in a state ravaged by a year-old ethnic conflict between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities, both the candidates of the NDA did not stand a chance of convincing voters that their party would ensure the safety of the people.

The BJP ruled state government failed to provide security to both the Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities that they took up the fight against each other by looting guns from the police armories. More than half of the looted guns are still with them ostensibly to protect themselves from each other. Having failed in providing security, coupled with the inept handling of the aftermath of the 3rd May 2023 conflict resulting in a state of lawlessness and the rise of radical elements, how could the people of the state repose faith in the ruling dispensation? The Prime Minister belonging to the same political party did not deem it important to visit the state and assuage the fears of the people.

The resounding defeat of the NPF and BJP candidate by over 80,000 to one lakh votes by the Congress was not surprising. The people v

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