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It is the “worst of times…age of foolishness…season of darkness…winter of despair…we have nothing before us…”
These powerful opening lines of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ strikes the mind when one thinks of today’s Naga People’s Front (NPF) which has fielded 15 candidates in the ensuing March, 2017 Manipur assembly election.
The kind of situation in which the cock party is in should not evade a critical scrutiny of NPF ideologues and party stalwarts.
This is the “worst of times” and the “season of darkness” for the cock party, such that the party is hobbling to chalk out relevant poll strategies at the moment. With the Central NPF leaders facing a labyrinth of crises in Nagaland, the Manipur State Unit of the party cannot expect much help from their leaders when they need them most.
The NPF Working President of the Manipur State Unit has resigned not only from his post but also from primary membership after he was denied a party ticket. This development has, perhaps, sent a major jolt to the party. Pandemonium has come to rule the roost in the party in Manipur as many ticket hopefuls felt they were not given the kind of returns they claimed they deserved.
With just 28 days to polling, when Central NPF leaders are supposed to scatter themselves in Naga areas of Manipur, canvassing and boosting the electorate, they will not even be able to step out of Kohima as the prevailing crisis in Nagaland deepens by the hour. NPF candidates have to eke out their ‘requirements’ on their own.
Worse for the NPF, the United Naga Council (UNC) which had endorsed the party in the ensuing Manipur assembly election last year is pre-occupied with the district creation issue confronting the Manipur State Government at the moment. This is also the time the UNC needs mass support in the movement spearheaded by it against the creation of seven new districts by the Ibobi Singh Government. Given this picture, indulging in electoral politics by the UNC is bound to tremendously affect the ongoing movement “to fight against the insidious design of grabbing our land on the pretext of administrative convenience till the same is withdrawn and also to fight against any other moves that would affect our land and identity”.
In the last assembly election in Manipur, the NPF had won four seats. However, thinking to fish with the same fishing net used five years ago in today’s troubled waters would be a mistake for the cock party.
The NPF is a party injected with Naga national fervor, and every Naga will have emotional linkage with the party in a state like Manipur. However, if the Naga electorate snubs the cock party for any other party, Naga voters should not be blamed for it. There must be a serious reason for it. One reason could be as simple as this question—have the party leaders and workers done enough to exhibit the charms of the NPF that the people get attracted? If so, and if that has been the case, the prevailing situation confronting the NPF today will not affect the poll prospect of the party adversely. But, as of now, it appears that there are more misses than hits. Any attempt to substitute coercion for the misses in the ensuing assembly election campaigns of the party in Manipur will be a costly affair for the Nagas.
Ignoring this pertinent observation would be akin to ignoring the genuineness and the very purpose of the party.