Everyone claiming credit CAB for failing to table in Parliament
At last the government failed to table the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) in Rajya Sabha and people burst out in euphoria. After the news came in that the Government failed to table the Bill; indefinite curfew which was imposed earlier was suspended with immediate effect, and normal life restored in the state.
People from different sections swooped in to take the credit. Ironically even people who belong to the ruling party claimed credit! The Chief Minister himself gave telephonic message to the people to help the government in its developmental effort now that the normal life is being restored. He expressed strong confidence to the people of the state saying his government has been enjoying good support from the people till now.
Manipur Chief Minister along with many other leaders from the Northeastern region was camping in Delhi. He returned to Imphal the very next to a hero’s welcome.
When I was returning home on 14th of this month, I found a big traffic jam; it turned out that the Chief Minister was returning from Delhi and party workers are waiting for him to give “a hero’s welcome” as they described it.
Whether the government has the legitimate right to claim credit or not, now for the moment everyone is happy that normalcy has been restored. Had the Bill been tabled in the Rajya Sabha and successfully passed only God knows what will happen to the law and order situation of the entire northeastern region. That is the kind of emergency like situation created by the Bill.
Mobile data service, which was curtailed as preventive measures, was also lifted. In fact, the Chief Minister himself broke the happy news in his telephonic interview. Mobile data curtailing has become almost like a habit of the present government.
People feel like living in an emergency like situation the moment mobile data services were curtailed. The Internet or web medium is a basic need for younger folks these days. Many youngsters cannot survive without online gaming and daily doses of social networking sites. One friend hilariously commented that “PUBG players will be out in the street and government will have more problems controlling them!” PUBG is one of the most popular online games.
From another angle it is a direct infringement on the freedom of speech and expression enshrined in Article 19 of our constitution. It is a sheer exposition of insecurity of the government. If the government started becoming rattled by what people write on social networking sites then it is not a sign of a government having strong confidence over its subject.
Many people gave opinion that the government can filter out “Facebook” and “WhatsApp” which are the two platforms where sensitive news can be spread rapidly but to blanket blackout mobile data services is not a good decision. And that is a valid argument “what IT department of the government is doing?”
Anyway there should not be such frequent Internet blackout in the first place. There is no valid reason to do so. There is no reason for government to fear public opinion in the first place if they are doing right the thing at the right time. It is 21st century. There should be more transparency and less internet blackouts and even lesser bouts of curfew.
Things could have been handled in a more mature way, being reactive at the drop of a hat and frequent internet blackout is a rather childish way. Whether it is coalition government or single party rule mandate has been given by the public. Showing insecure signs is like letting down the confidence reposed on them by public.
In many sense Manipur is so far yet so near to the central government; far because northeastern states can hardly set agenda in Delhi, near because of the over dependence on the central government. Happenings in Delhi’s power corridors have so much implication in Imphal, Dispur and other capital cities of the Northeastern region.
It is not an overstatement to say that the climatic condition in Delhi’s power corridor has often successful in changing government in Imphal! In 2014 there was a lot of talk about the so called “Modi-wave” and its ripples were felt in Imphal when the BJP led government was form in the state after a long time.
Lok Sabha election is just a few month away and it is just a matter of time before the ripple-effect gets itself exposed. It is rather an ironical situation. Manipur has only two seats in Lok Sabha, one inner and other outer constituency. From these two seats; outer constituency is already reserved for Schedule Tribe (ST) being falls under scheduled area. Only the inner constituency is left open.
From the perspective of a common man, Lok Sabha election is one of lesser talk about election here in Manipur, even local body election gets lots of attention from public. Panchayat election is a fierce battle ground in village area; it is where family enmity and dynasty clashes. In Panchyat election; candidates are many and are all known faces from locality.
On the other hand, in Lok Sabha election candidates are unknown faces and once he wins the election he went to Delhi and stay there till his term is completed! It may sound funny but it is a fact, if we go to market place and ask who is their sitting MP, the man representing them, majority of the people will not know.
Yet the implication that this election has on the geopolitics of the state is unprecedented. Many people may not know who is the sitting MP yet often this election hold the key to unlock who is going to form government in the state. This is the most ironical part.
People are expecting before and after effect of the impending Lok Sabha election. In fact in some way even the passing of CAB in Lok Sabha was associated with the impending election. After effect will be known after the election; whether it changes or strengthen the present set up.
(The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org).