Saturday, December 9, 2023
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An Appeal for a free and fair election in Manipur

With the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election fast approaching in few weeks time, without any fear it should be the right time for all the eligible voters to cast their vote in free and fair manner. Very often, elections in the land of Nagas are accompanied with stern diktat from the armed organisations or the underground governments resulting in greater detriments rather than benefits. It is high time that the people also realize what their rights are when it comes to choosing their representatives for the government.
Restrictive orders with stern warning from the underground governments are very frequent whenever State Assembly elections or Lok Sabha elections are held. This has left the public in confusion whether the Naga underground or the national workers are fighting for the rights of the people or for their intended candidates! To campaign in the Indian election by favouring a particular candidate or a political party is not a dignified duty of an organization that seek for a sovereign state nor the Naga armies are instituted or trained to take away the freedom of the Naga citizens! Any Naga underground organization or government that shows keen interest in the Indian electoral process by imposing various kind of warning upon the innocent civilian has no moral right to called themselves as true national workers. On the other hand, when many of the underground leaders are corrupted with the money of the politician, general public are also partly to be blamed for their failure to protest and protect what belongs to them. Yet when election occurs, innocent citizens fall victim to those ravenous money monsters and are freely abused not by any outlandish forces but by their own people. In such scenario, the citizens have every right to outrightly reject such imposters!
As the election advances, the so called Naga People Front (NPF) of Manipur unit has made a signed declaration in support of the Framework Agreement (FA). What is FA to them? Do they think that FA was signed between GOI and NPF of Manipur unit? If those signatories think that FA was signed between the Nagas and the GOI, why sit silent when they were there as an MLA? Why talk about solution for a particular group only when election arrives? They must clearly understand that Nagas cause cannot be made use for their political gain. If they truly love their people and the Nagas, they must first act and show the Naga public what they can or have sacrificed for the cause of the Nagas. Seeking political favour from some of the underground leaders with a motive of electorial gains during election time is frivolous and reprehensible laxity.
Any underground organisation or government survived not because of being well armed but it is by the support of the people. There are rules which are ought to be observed and kept. Accordingly, the individual’s rights should also be respected irrespective of a person’s status or position. To exercise the fundamental right of, the right to vote, should be left free to all. Any organisations or faction of any underground government should refrain from interfering in the Indian sponsored election. People’s will is supreme and everyone ought to respect the will of the people in the matter or whatsoever.
Good governance is the wish of every citizen. Whereas, good governance calls for a wider participation of the people and the government is expected to be accountable to the voters. So long as the voters are forced to bow to the threats without a question, good governance cannot be produced. Because such government is not formed by the true will of the people. And where people’s will are not accounted, the elected members would usurp power to rule the people according to their whims and fancies. The end result will be a dictatorial form of government. General public should understand that they have the right to political dissent. The elected representatives must be made accountable to the people as they represent for them. Election times are the only days when the voters are the king upon their rulers. No other forces should be allowed to infringe in the voting rights being guaranteed by the law and at the same time, every sensible citizen ought to protect their rights when encroached.
Vaison Vemai, ACL
Southern Zone In-Charge,