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Of Right To Vote And Responsibilities

The wisdom, the universal appeal and the responsibilities thrust on the people is unmistakable in the old observation, ‘˜A people get the type of Government they deserve.’ The unfortunate part is, this observation or  phrase, has been used indiscriminately and solely for the sake of political gains for a party or a candidate, that today, the sting of this saying has somewhat lost the intended bite. This is but just a small chapter in this universally appealing statement but it has gone a long way in blunting its core meaning and this is all that more visible or prominent in a democracy, where the responsibility of forming the Government primarily lies with the general public.

After the majority of the Nations spread across the world opted for democracy and saw the adult franchise or elections as the best bet to form a responsible Government, there was also a reciprocal growth in the responsibilities of the citizens and very often the composition of a Government or the type of political leaders we choose to represent us on the floor of Parliament or Assembly reflect the maturity or otherwise of the people who elect them in the first place. With no provisions of a recall or a referendum based on the performance or a representative midway through the term, it means an elected member is given a full five years time to do whatever he or she wishes to do and the electorate has to just bear and tolerate the antics of their representative. This is one lacunae of democracy especially in a country like India which has a huge population. The only way to tame such elements or rein them in is to ensure their defeat in the next election, but how many corrupt, inefficient politicians have been taught a fitting lesson at the hustings is a question worth pondering, especially in the context of Manipur, where we see the same old faces continuing with their loot and rob agenda term after term. There can be no foolproof mechanism to check all these and it is here that the responsibilities of the electorate become all that more important and crucial.

The need for an elaborate change or reform of the electoral system has been felt for long, and we are sorry that we have not been able to keep our date with the model which has been worked out by one of the more concerned and thinking citizens. Rest assured after a little bit of polishing it will greet the readers some time, sooner rather than later. But as things stand today, there is little scope for any far reaching changes in the electoral system and we have to make do with the system available and see that we do the right thing and choose the right people at the time of the election. In our last editorial, ‘Our Men in Delhi,’ we briefly touched on the topic of why our political leaders have failed to make a splash or leave an impact at New Delhi. The days of viewing everything through the prism of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are over and India is now looking for fresh talents and fresh ideas who can take the country forward and keep it on the track of development. One primary reason why our political leaders have not been able to create a ripple in Delhi is because of the type of people we choose to send as our representative. At the risk of hurting the sentiments or rubbing some people the wrong way, we have to admit that Manipur has consistently failed to produce any politicians of standing on the National stage, unlike our neighboring States like Meghalaya, Assam and Nagaland. It is time for us to search our soul and ask why this is so.

Ever since Manipur attained Statehood in 1972, how many MPs from here have actually been inducted into the Union Council of Ministers? In the late 80s, we had RK Jaichandra, the Rajya Sabha MP, as MoS for Youth Affairs and Sports and after him, Meijinlung Kamson was inducted into the Ministry as MoS for Home for a short period and then of course who can forget Th Chaoba, who rode the MSCP wave, became a partner of the BJP led NDA Government and was awarded with the YAS and some other portfolios as MoS. As things unfolded, Th Chaoba was soon stripped of the high profile YAS portfolio and was left with Food Processing. Correct us if we have missed any name, but the question lying before us is why Members of Parliament from Manipur either in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha have not been able to catch the attention of the Central leadership?

Before we come to an answer or explanation for this, let’s also study the dynamics and factors involved in forming the Union Council of Ministers. With only two Lok Sabha MPs and one Rajya Sabha MP, Manipur cannot be expected to play a pivotal role in Government formation in Delhi, especially in this time of coalition Governments. Two, the composition of the Union Ministry needs to address different aspirations and needs, and strike a balance in terms of representation, region wise, partner wise and to live up to the pre-poll agreements and pacts. This is real politiks at play but there is also still room for something called talent, efficiency, leadership quality and the ability to win over voters and this is where we find the political leaders of the State sorely lacking.

In Rishang Keishing we have the oldest Parliamentarian in Delhi now, having represented the Outer seat in the first Lok Sabha, but the dampener is the fact that the reach and influence of Mr. Keishing did not go beyond Manipur. The AICC did not see in him as a potential leader able to catch the imagination of the North East region. This is what sets personalities like PA Sangma apart from the rest. Not only has he served as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, but today, Sangma is a man no political party can afford to ignore. Agatha Sangma is the creation of PA Sangma, and need we say more? Assam has produced its fair share of political leaders, who had at least some pan North East appeal, while in Nagaland there have been some colorful personalities such as SC Jamir, Hokishe Sema and in Mizoram, apart from Laldenga, there is Brig T Sailo. This is about Delhi and where our men stands there, but take a closer look at the State Assembly and one will get a fair idea of why the phrase, ‘˜A people gets a type of Government they deserve,’ fits perfectly for the people of Manipur.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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*The Sangai Express- Largest Circulated News Paper In Manipur
*E-Pao! :: Complete e-platform for Manipuris

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