So much for ideology
IFP Editorial: BJP is now a party of choice for current and former MLAs or most intending candidates. Lobbying is intense and mud-slinging the game of choice. Almost every constituency has three to five intending candidates vying for the BJP party ticket.
Updated 7 Nov 2021, 7:27 pm
As the 2022 assembly draws nearer, the race for BJP ticket is picking up momentum in every constituency with intending candidates at each other’s throats while the BJP-RSS election machinery rolls out its vetting machine to pick the likely winners. There is so much uncertainty that even some of the party MLAs not to talk of the old faithful cadres are not confident of getting the BJP ticket at all, with new challengers having deep pockets cropping up everywhere. Just as it was with the Congress party when it was in power years ago, BJP is now a party of choice for current and former MLAs or most intending candidates. Lobbying is intense and mud-slinging the game of choice. Almost every constituency has three to five intending candidates vying for the BJP party ticket. As we said before, the choices will be based on realpolitik and it would be more on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations. A candidate’s linkages with the BJP-RSS ideology and commitment to its ethos may not matter much in making the choice, this time also. Earlier in the 2017 assembly elections, BJP laid its cards on the table with almost a new crop of political aspirants as it mainly factored on the anti-incumbency factor of the 15 year old Congress regime. Except for a few old hands and the incumbent Chief Minister N Biren Singh, most of the BJP candidates were first timers as well as those elected. So, the indoctrination process took time even for the top leaders in the government and they are still struggling with it.
Yet, as the party yearns for a majority of its own without cumbersome allies like the National People’s Party (NPP) and Naga People's Front (NPF) and defectors from the Congress party its emphasis may not be that different from 2017 elections and in the process, ideology and loyalty would become a casualty which will cause much heartburn among the party faithful. Just as it took in a former high profile Congressman N Biren Singh into its fold three months before the 2017 elections, BJP welcomed another high profile Congress leader Govindas Konthoujam nearly three months back much to the chagrin of CM aspirants in the party. In admitting Govindas, the party had picked up a sure winner but also one who is ready to throw his hat in the CM race. Even as it struggles with numerous ticket aspirants in almost every constituency, it goes on admitting new faces to the party in the hopes of attaining a majority of its own.
The all-out effort in 2017 elections could produce only 21 MLAs in the 60-member Manipur assembly and it was forced to hastily cobble together a fragile coalition of parties and MLAs including a Congress deserter. As such, the attention of the party was most of the time consumed in managing the fragile coalition and also in tackling the infighting among the power centres within the party. That kind of situation, the party wants to avoid it this time around. What then would be the fate of those who were denied the BJP party ticket and those who lost out in the race? While some of them may fall in line to support the party’s choice, many will rebel and throw in their hats either as independent candidates or from some other party waiting in the wings. The main opposition party Congress has its hands full, at present, but it may not close its doors to ticket seekers altogether. The other parties in line are National People's Party, Naga People's Front, Janata Dal (U), Lok Janshakti and Trinamool Congress etc.
First published:1 Nov 2021, 9:25 pm