With public angst slowly turning towards the ruling party, its state leaders seems to have stuck in a situation where ‘a drowning man even tries to grasp a straw to save oneself’ as our wise elders used to say. It is an open secret that all is not well within the Manipur BJP and some disgruntled party MLAs ,including two former ministers, are openly rebelling against the present leadership.
While the party high command continues to maintain a stoic silence, public pressure to act is increasing day by day. The continued silence of the supreme leader Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Manipur crisis while creating an image of being deeply absorbed in international affairs is perplexing everyone within the ranks of the party, rendering them with utter helplessness with no answer to give to the questions raised by the general public.
Even Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who used to call and meet party MLAs in New Delhi, has grown silent in recent times. Not only the party MLAs, but both communities at each others throats had grown restive over the silence of the BJP central leaders. Leaving aside the Prime Minister and the Home Minister, even the most talkative party leaders is conspicuously silent and absent from the state.
In the past, central ministers and party leaders used to visit the state very regularly even at the drop of a hat. Now, either they were prevented from doing so or for the sake of oneself everyone has thrown in their towels in the ring. Gone are the chest-thumping incantations of ‘double-engine’ since the outbreak of the violence in the state by both state and central leaders.
The state BJP leaders looked so lost and helpless. Maybe that is why, state president A Sharda Devi said something about BJP MLAs not being a party to the demand for a separate administration. Simply that, some party MLAs putting their signatures to the demand happened due to ‘misunderstanding’ as she said. At that, the state Congress President Meghachandra has jumped in for the jugular vein.
But maybe Sharda Devi has a point, after all. Out of the 10 Kuki MLAs who has been demanding a separate administration, seven are from BJP while the rest three belong to its allies. In fact, the BJP MLAs are in majority and they could easily swing the vote as to whether they should make the demand for a separate administration which the other three would naturally follow.
Besides the point, it is also strange that most of the Kuki MLAs in the present Manipur Legislative Assembly won from the BJP. But, it still begs the question whether BJP had an ‘understanding’ with the Kuki groups in the 2022 assembly elections. Did BJP conveniently forgot the so-called ‘understanding’ after coming to power? Is it somehow related to the ‘misunderstanding’ as referred to by President Sharda Devi? If we remember correctly, a SoO outfit leader referred to an alleged understanding during the recent elections between the outfit and the party in question.
Of course, everything was denied. But the allegations somehow managed to remain stuck. There is again the matter of Article 355 of the Indian Constitution. The state party leadership acted as if they were kept in the dark about the ‘unannounced’ invocation of Article 355 in the state, as public ire begin to be directed against BJP, including herself. Her private residence and of some other party MLAs were attacked by irate mobs which must have compelled her to ask the Article 355 question. Even the Chief Minister hinted at Art 355 without openly confirming it. The only way out now is either to deal resolutely with the internal dissidence within the party including that of ‘misunderstanding’ with Kuki MLAs or keep their traps shut.