TODAY -

Looking for a decent election hustings

Free Thinker *



First and foremost agenda of the coming Lok Sabha election ought to be - not to attack one another on personal matters and on ethnic lines. Unparliamentary personal comments must be avoided, for instance - “he is an intellectual but he does not know how to fill up the nomination form"; “he is still a papa's boy, let him grow up"; "film wala rajniti me kiya karega"; “small fries must withdraw to save their deposits".

Criticisms on ethnic line should also be avoided, like - “it has become a Thangkhul affair - where are the Maos, Kabuis, etc?"; “Kuki-Zo is not interested in such democratic process“. In fact provocative remarks should not be used at the election hustings.

Second, proper decorum and decency must be maintained at the time of campaigns; if a Party/Candidate is distributing something in a particular locality at night the other Party/Candidate must wait or come on the next night. They should not collide and embarrass the voters. Let the voters have the privilege to accept the offers from one after another without discrimination.

Many are saying that let us not spend money on elections. You see, the permissible amount must be allowed to spend. I think for Manipur every candidate can spend up to 75 lacs. 95 lacs is for bigger States where the level of corruption is higher and bigger.

When the campaigns become intensified candidates tend to become more personal rather than topical. During election time, all sorts of allegations and counter allegations may crop up. There may be truth in some of the allegations - but difficult to prove. Suppose 'falana' candidate alleges that his opponent had a beautiful girlfriend in DU, they roamed around in a Fiat car - who will believe it?

Then the other may launch a counter attack - candidate's small finger was twisted like hell by his first wife - who will prove such wild allegations? So the campaign must be done in a much disciplined way - without personal allegations and mudslinging. Concentrate on real issues.

Candidates' priority should be safeguarding the territorial integrity of the State ( need to re-ensure it, again and again ). Hill and valley remains one. Some people always try to break the State on ethnic lines - this must be frustrating.

Sincere and honest efforts must be made to redeem the ethnic or communal harmony in the State. Coexistence must be the mantra for all Contestants. All the ethnic groups must live together. His area , my area and your area - this is a notorious idea - must be rejected by all voters.

Immediately after this election the displaced persons must be rehabilitated in their original places. ECI can't make special arrangements/EVMs for them every election. Houses, buildings and shops destroyed must be reconstructed at State cost (out-side pecuniary support from World Bank or Asian Development Bank may be taken with sovereign guarantee). Fool proof security must be provided to the people who are coming back.

People who ran away from Imphal, Churachandpur, Moreh, Senapati etc., must be requested to come back. Government agencies, Security forces and civil society members must ensure their safety and security. Particularly the members of the civil societies must give full assurance that their lives and properties shall be protected under any circumstances.

Displaced people must be rehabilitated as early as possible. Some are really willing to go back to their original habitations despite impending dangers and insecurities. I believe they must be allowed to go and settle. They say they want to go to their original home village or town and die there peacefully.

Preferably election manifesto must be brought out which is state specific. National Parties may bring out manifestos for the entire country. However Manipur specific program or announcement is very much required at this juncture.

It is simply a request - not to be taken seriously. We know how .serious they are. From Manipur only two will go to the Lower House of Parliament - just tell me what they can do in a crowd of 543 smarty or scoundrels.

Election observers may take rest without tension in their respective hotels and accommodations provided .Since we have many authorities in addition to the Election Commission of India there is hardly anything to worry about.

Here, elections are normally conducted smoothly without interference from the observers. The voters and candidates are docile and they follow the rules and regulations of the poll as prescribed by the ECI, as envisaged by the RPA 1951 and SC rulings etc.

Please let each candidate spend the maximum amount they can spend for the election i.e 75 lac ; if they don't spend who will spend on our poor people who have become extremely impoverished after Covid and Meitei-Kuki fracas .

Let them enjoy the fruits of democracy at least during election time. Okay, Congress candidates may now borrow money and spend; but the borrowed amount must be returned when their Party fund is unfrozen. Done!

Nirmala ji and I will contest in 2029, this time we don't have money.


* Free Thinker wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on 03 April 2024

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