March 11: The year 2017 has been a year full of hope and aspirations as the year saw ‘The Iron Lady’ of Manipur rise up and put a strong fight against Corruption through her party People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA). August 9, 2016 was a historic day as Sharmila broke her 16-yr-long fast and decided to continue her fight against AFSPA and corruption in Manipur by floating the PRJA and standing for elections.
After rigorous digital as well as on-ground campaigning, PRJA was greatly able to influence the hearts and minds of people through its crystal clear ideologies that seemed to connect directly with the masses. However, the 15-yr-long rule of Okrom Ibobi Singh was nothing that an independent regional party or candidate could confront so easily. While on one side, the aggressiveness of PRJA took Manipur by storm, Congress supporters in the state held firm to their leaders. But, it may be mentioned that after a very long time in the history of Manipur Elections, Congress faced a stiff competition from BJP in 2017 elections.
Speaking to NDTV a day before the Manipur election results, Ibobi sounded confident of his win and said that although it was great to see Sharmila stand for elections against him, he had firm faith in his supporters and knew they would never put him down. However, unaware he was of the caliber of Saffron Party whose impending prowess could usher in a huge quake to the CM’s throne. Sharmila, on the other hand said that she would not be able to change people’s mind and that whatever decision the people took, she would gladly accept it.
The Result day saw a lot of unpredictability. On one side the utter disappointment of Irom Sharmila losing to Ibobi Singh while on the other, it also witnessed a neck-to-neck competition between BJP and the Congress. As news of Irom Sharmila’s defeat broke out to the public, PRJA supporters consoled themselves by adhering to the fact that a revolution as bold as PRJA was a historic one and will not easily fade into thin air. The PRJA official page was quoted as stating, “PRJA Youth! Have no doubt that we’ve injected something precious in Manipur this time, however tiny. My heartfelt gratitude to you all for your sincere dedication!! Let’s remember our PRJA motto: “Yadriphao Oidriphao!”
Moreover PRJA has not had a very amicable relationship with BJP as well. Their recent opposition of Modi’s rally at the Kangla Fort was something that has not landed them into BJP’s good books either.
Well, whatever the outcome be, Election 2017 will be a wake up call for the Congress as it ensured that every election cannot be a cakewalk for the Ibobi led party. With revolution already brimming in people’s mind and BJP carving a niche for itself in the state, the next CM will definitely need to be more embracing of varied ideologies following tough opponents.
-By Shweta Raj Kanwar for TNT-The Northeast Today
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