Calculation Of Congress Chances

Calculation Of Congress Chances

From the day the results of the 11th Manipur Assembly elections were out in the open to the present time when the pace of electioneering is picking up for the next Assembly elections, the Congress party has found itself outsmarted and bruised in the many battles for the throne to rule the state that it had fought with the Bharatiya Janata Party. In a way, the mandate of the people in the 2017 Assembly elections was for the Congress party and Okram Ibobi to form the government for the fourth successive time. The president of the party at that time TN Haokip had openly declared that it will not go for any alliance with either the BJP or NPF who were in possession of 21 and 4 MLAs respectively. With 28 MLAs of its own and 7 uncommitted MLAs belonging to various political affiliations, it took a bungling of Himalayan proportion, plus the logistic support from the occupant of the esteemed Raj Bhavan according to its leaders, to fail to muster the support of 31 MLAs and let such a golden chance slip away just like that. In the sweeping chain of event that followed, the BJP led government had taken over the reins of the state before the Congress party could raise its hands to oppose. How could not the Congress have prevented itself from losing out in forming the government after being placed in such an advantageous position? The blame could be attributed to the party’s stiff resistance to coalition dharma since providing the NPP a comfortable accommodation forth-rightly in the next government would have bought durability for another five years with at least 32 members of the legislative Assembly. Moreover, the single independent and two non-BJP legislators were likely to have gravitated toward the alliance in power and given it more stability as it had happened latter, albeit to the BJP-led government. The last four and half years is a good length of free time for the Congress party to retrospect and ponder over the matter over and over again and after such mental exercise it should have developed enough wisdom to start giving due regards to the necessity of conjuring alliance, especially with the changing political scenario in the state and country and depletion in its political fortune. One significant change in this direction for the party was the formation of the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi in collaboration with its long-time ally the NCP and the ultra right-wing Shiv Sena. The decision to meet eye to eye with the Shiv Sena was quite uncanny and a quantum leap in character development for the Congress party. It showed that the party is now ever ready to do what it takes to push out the BJP from power and the deprivation of power to the saffron party which received the people’s mandate must have tasted like sweet revenge for the coup d’etat in Manipur allegedly in connivance with the state’s Governor. The way the party played the game of thrones in Maharashtra indicated its transformation as a smart and practical operator and highlighted a climb down on its earlier inflexible stance on working together with some political parties which it had clustered as untouchables for decades. In Nagaland, where the animosity between the NPF and Congress party all started, the relationship is on the mend and the parties went together at the last Lok Sabha elections. Though, the NPP is its main adversary in Meghalaya it is unlikely to have any impact in them working together for forming a government in Manipur now. The improvement in relation with these two regional parties is significant as both are likely to play bigger roles during government formation after the next state Assembly elections. The Congress has lost its foothold in many Assembly constituencies in the state and its tally will definitely decrease after this elections; but there are more than a dozen seats where its candidates are either unassailable or strong forces to be reckoned with. On the otherhand, the BJP which is embarked on a mission of 45 MLAs is still untested in the hills constituencies where stiff competition is waiting in the form of NPF in the predominantly Naga areas and the Congress and NPP in the remaining seats. Thus, its tentative collection of hills’ seats is a matter of conjecture. Moreover, unlike its main rivals the BJP has a one of its kind dilemma due to the long list of intending candidates from each constituency. In the lopsided battle between playing martyrs for the party or standing in the election in whatever possible ways many prospective winners who are denied the party tickets are going to cross over from the BJP. The NPP appears to be the most eligible destination and based on this possibility it could witness an increase in its strength of MLAs. After consideration of the different probabilities, we cannot rule out the Congress party from being a part of the next government in the state. However, to make the prediction do well it has to keep all its options open like the way it fared in Maharashtra on post-poll alliance and be prepared for all adventures.

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