Conclave on Indian parliamentary election held
Imphal Free Press (IFP) in association with People’s Campaign for Resurgent Manipur (PCRM) organised a conclave on “Indian parliamentary election: Reflections on Manipur and India’s North East” today evening at Sangai Hall, Hotel Imphal.
The conclave was organised as many experts have observed that the ongoing 17th Lok Sabha election to be a crucial one that implicates not only the nature of political culture in the country but also the idea of India itself. Moreover, in many ways, the election is also likely to further shape the roles of national and regional parties in the affairs of the state.
It opened with a video conference with analyst, Prasenjit Biswas, who observed that the 17th Lok Sabha election is a special election as on one hand the multi-cultural, multi lingual features of India has to be protected. On the other hand, people are trying to project India from religious nationalism. “The electoral process itself and the idea of India are in conflict,” he added.
Taking part in the panel discussion on whether the 17th Lok Sabha election is a contestation of two set of ideas, BJP candidate RK Ranjan opined that for the BJP, the ongoing election is towards making a strong nation and oneness of India. “Some people have observed that liberal democracy is losing with the NDA government; however, it is not so as the BJP only wants to make the nation strong. It is the idea of BJP fighting the election,” he stated.
INC candidate, O. Nabakishore stated that he would not limit the election to the contestation of two ideas and added that there are several things apart from that.
While noting that the idea of INC is to save democracy and the Indian constitution, he asserted that the preamble of the Indian constitution clearly defines the idea of India as a nation, adding that the BJP is a right wing conservative party and the INC is a liberal democratic party with socialism in its roots.
“The last resort for any citizen is the judiciary. But even the judiciary is under severe attack in the last five years of the NDA government. Moreover, the media which is promoting the freedom of speech and expression, exchange of ideas and of dissent which is essential for a vibrant democracy is under severe attack,” the INC candidate contended.
Deputy editor of The Wire, Sangeeta Baruah opined that there are different levels and perspectives from where one has to see the ongoing 17th Lok Sabha election. Some people are still caught in the idea of basic services like drinking water, roads, etc. “Of course, there is also the contestation of ideas,” she acknowledged.
In reply to the same query, NEIDP candidate R.K. Anand responded that many of the issues faced by the Indian masses are yet to be addressed as basic necessities like drinking water have not been received by the people adequately all over the country.
He further affirmed that aggressive regionalism is the answer to all the problems. “One has to be violent, assertive and vocal and should address their grievances. If necessary, one should snatch their own rights,” he asserted while adding that Manipur cannot always remain dependent on India.
Editor of IFP, Pradip Phanjoubam stated that collectivism is required for regional parties to become stronger. The people need to have a particular goal and particular ideology, he noted while also maintaining that people are required to be bound together with strong fabric of regionalism as in Mizoram and Nagaland. “The idea of Naga in Nagaland is still very strong; moreover, there is also a need for strong leadership,” he added.
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