The monsoon session of Parliament witnessed the second no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. Unlike the last one, this no-confidence motion was extremely crucial because Manipur is burning. The no-confidence motion was moved by the opposition political parties in the Lok Sabha as they wanted a response from the Prime Minister of India on the issue of Manipur as he was not attending Parliament. Secondly, the Opposition political parties wanted a long discussion on the issue of Manipur in both houses. Unfortunately, there was no discussion in the Rajya Sabha, and the entire session was lost except for the debate over the Delhi Services Bill. In the Lok Sabha, during the no-confidence motion, discussion on the issue of Manipur and others did happen, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also addressed the House, but the real issues of Manipur remained undiscussed. The entire no-confidence motion was lost, as were the failed narratives of politics, and no one really showed empathy or care for the healing of Manipur.
In the realm of politics, it is disheartening to witness the all-too-common phenomenon of blame games. Instead of focusing their energies on tackling the underlying problems at hand, politicians often find solace in the act of pointing fingers and casting aspersions. This diversionary tactic not only hinders progress but also fails to address the root causes that demand urgent attention. In the complex landscape of Manipur, a state besieged by a multitude of social, economic, and political predicaments, a civic war has erupted, overshadowing the crucial pursuit of long-lasting remedies. Amidst the cacophony of political rhetoric, the plight of the people of Manipur continues to be neglected, intensifying their hardships and perpetuating the vicious cycle of underdevelopment.
In contemplating the delicate process of healing wounds, it is imperative to recognise the profound significance of empathy over the futile pursuit of assigning blame. In a recent turn of events, the return of senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to the Lok Sabha has sparked considerable attention. Following the Supreme Court's decision to grant a stay in his two-year sentence, which ultimately led to the invocation of his membership in Parliament, Gandhi took to the floor to deliver a speech that predominantly revolved around rhetoric. In a rather disheartening display of political rhetoric, the speaker in question chose to forgo any meaningful critique of the government's actions and instead opted to solely voice his personal opinions on the perceived shortcomings of the Modi administration in addressing the pressing concerns surrounding Manipur. In the intricate landscape of Manipur, it becomes imperative to recognise that the current situation calls for a thoughtful examination of the government's actions, accompanied by a demand for transparency and responsibility.
In the highly anticipated no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha, the Opposition had set the bar high, with expectations of posing thought-provoking questions and holding up a reflective mirror to the government. In this current political climate, it has become increasingly evident that the Opposition must come to terms with the fact that the Bharatiya Janata Party, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has a penchant for employing rhetoric as a powerful tool. The annals of political blunders committed by Congress are a well-documented saga known to all. Consequently, engaging in mere political rhetoric against the BJP proves to be a precarious endeavour, as it invariably elicits a rhetorical counter-response from the saffron party. Throughout the duration of the monsoon session, it is disheartening to observe that, apart from the Home Minister of India, Amit Shah, the remaining members of Parliament have failed to adequately address the pressing concerns surrounding policies, governance, on-the-ground efforts, and the future trajectory of Manipur in the aftermath of the ongoing civil war.
In the tumultuous arena of politics, the recent no-confidence motion unfolded as a stark illustration of partisan pursuits overshadowing the pressing concerns of Manipur. Both the opposition and the ruling party seemed engaged in a high-stakes contest, reminiscent of a symphony seeking applause rather than addressing the dire realities faced by the troubled state. The opposition's intentions to assail Prime Minister Narendra Modi were unmistakable, their goal seemingly more a demonstration of strength than a genuine pursuit of answers. As the Opposition alliance flexed its unity within the hallowed halls of the Lok Sabha during the monsoon session, Manipur's escalating crisis remained sidelined, an unfortunate casualty of political theatrics.
Amidst the chorus of blame and counterblame, it is crucial to recognise that while the opposition's behaviour might be difficult to digest, it is equally essential to acknowledge the government's response, or rather, the lack thereof, to the Manipur crisis. When the distressing images of two women subjected to heinous acts in Manipur reached the public's conscience, the central government's reaction left much to be desired. The expectation that Woman and Child Minister Smriti Irani would address the dire circumstances faced by women in Manipur was met with disappointment as her focus shifted towards criticisms of Congress, sidelining the plight of Manipur's women. Similarly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address largely oscillated between self-congratulatory remarks about his government's achievements and pointed attacks on Congress, an approach that did little to alleviate Manipur's suffering.
The BJP-led government would do well to heed the timeless wisdom that power entails responsibility. The narrative propagated by the central government and the Bharatiya Janata Party regarding Manipur is undeniably regrettable. The citizens of Manipur deserved more than just political rhetoric; they yearned for a substantive response from their prime minister, outlining a coherent strategy to alleviate their plight. In their hour of need, Manipur's people sought not just words, but a tangible display of empathy and support from the central administration.
The BJP's historic mandate necessitates a recalibration of their priorities. Amidst the expected tussle of political blame games, the present circumstances underline a vital lesson — during emergencies like the Manipur crisis, the sanctity of democratic principles should rise above the partisan fray. It is incumbent upon all political stakeholders to converge, setting aside their differences and uniting to safeguard the democratic rights of the citizens, quell violence, and rejuvenate faith in the foundational pillars of India's constitution and democracy.
As Manipur's turmoil deepens, political parties must recognise that their actions bear weight beyond the corridors of power. While the allure of political brownie points may be tempting, it is imperative that they rise to the occasion, transcending the narrow confines of partisan politics and steering towards a collaborative, compassionate approach that holds the promise of alleviating Manipur's distress and rekindling hope within its borders.
The author is a visiting professor of journalism, a political columnist and a doctoral research scholar. He tweets at @sayantan_gh. Views are personal