TODAY -

Editorial of the week

BACK TO THE POLLS
Courtesy: The Sangai Express 04 January, 2002

As Manipur prepares herself to elect another batch of MLAs, a certain sense of gloom and negativity pervading the atmosphere cannot be simply wished away. On February 14 and 21 electorates of the State will queue up before the polling booths to choose from amongst competing evils and there is nothing very pessimistic in this observation. With just a month and a few days left for the polls, the State is understandably caught in a poll fever but what is alarming is everyone seems to have forgotten that this election has been forced upon the people and not by any desire to ring in a new change that will better the lot of the people. The Manipuri people can forget at their own peril that election to the last Assembly was held on February 12 and 22, 2001. It needs no elaboration to say that election tends to lose its charms and relevance when it becomes annual affairs. As citizens of the largest democracy in the world, the people may take pride in exercising their democratic rights and decide who should run the affairs of the State. However in the absence of any meaningful debates, discussion and manifestoes that can catch the imagination of the people, there is nothing positive that can be read into the impending election. The same faces that enacted the farcical drama in front of the whole country in the name of democracy are still very much there and the people have little choice but to choose from amongst the same bunch who took the definition of switching party loyalties to new lows.

Elections are meant to give opportunities to the people to vote back or vote out a Government based purely on their performances and ability to live upto the expectations of the people. And election time is the initial process to set the ball rolling and set the parameters that are expected from the political leaders and the next Government that comes to power. However when the very purpose of holding election is clouded by the lure of lucre, then the very purpose of holding election falls flat on its face and as witnessed here many times elections are reduced to a great bazar where votes are given to the highest bidder. In short a carnival like atmosphere is created. Manipur attained statehood in 1972 and in all these years no so called popular Government have been able to strike a popular chord with the people. This is not to say that our political leaders should adopt populist measures but far from it the Government of the day should try to, earn popularity through a clear sighted policy to put the State on the track of developments. And the process of installing a clean Government starts from the process of election. The Manipuri people cannot afford to forget the farcical year that has just gone by and the right time to right the wrongs of the previous year is to be prudent during election time. We cannot afford wrong judgement.


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