Sunday, Jun 26, 2022
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Manipur’s Love-Hate Relations With Delhi

Once a Congress stronghold, the Northeast state of Manipur is now a playground for the BJP and smaller parties

Manipur’s Love-Hate Relations With Delhi
Grand Theatre Take Away by Riyas Komu, Recycled wood and metal

In 2003, India’s Northeast witnessed an unprecedented political churning when the then chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Gegong Apang, merged his Arunachal Congress party with the BJP. Overnight, the BJP found itself in power in the hill state, a first for the saffron party in a region which was then an impregnable fortress of the Congress. A few months later, Apang returned to the Congress and normalcy was restored. Nearly two decades later, the Congress has been wiped out from the region. The BJP is the new lord and master—in power in all seven states, either on its own or in coalition. But politics, like the weather, continues to remain as fickle as it was ever before in the Northeast.

And it’s not without reason that Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United) is seeking a piece of the power pie in Manipur which is voting to elect a new assembly. Despite the fact that the party has very little presence in the state, the JD-U has fielded candidates in 39 out of the 60 seats, roping in at least 15 sitting MLAs and other prominent leaders who jumped ship after they were denied tickets by the ruling BJP and the challenger Congress. It’s another matter that the JD-U is a partner in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre. For the record, it’s not the first time the JD-U is contesting polls in Manipur. Rajkumar Doren Singh, the party’s state general secretary, is a confident man. “We are confident of forming the next government alone.”

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