Left parties fighting Manipur election to regain lost ground

Imphal: Once a force to reckon with in Manipur politics, the CPI and CPI(M) are fighting the Assembly election to regain their lost ground in the state.

Manipur has a long history of Left movement, under the leadership of legendary Left leader like Hijam Irabot Singh commonly known as “jana neta Hijam” but this time the Left parties are fighting hard to make their presence felt in the state.

The on-going insurgency and ethnic driven conflict seems to have taken a heavy toll on the communist parties of Manipur, which believe in the ideology of class struggle.

The CPI, CPI(M) along with other secular and like minded parties have formed a front called Left and Democratic Front (LDF).

It also has an electoral adjustment with National People’s Party. Altogether they are fighting in 50 seats in the 60-member Manipur Assembly.

CPI, which is dominant among the Left forces, conceded that they are fighting to regain their lost ground and rebuild the once glorious Left movement in the state.

“Once we were quite a big force in the state. We had considerable number of seats and had played decisive role in state government formation. But those are things of past. We have to rebuild from the scratch.

We are fighting to regain our lost ground in the state with the help of other secular and democratic forces,” M Nara Singh, CPI state secretary and LDF convener, told PTI.

Nara’s view was echoed by a senior state CPI(M) leader Santo, who feels that the Left had lost its ground as it could not build a movement in the state where politics is driven by ethnicity. He also blamed the role of money and muscle power as one of the biggest problems for the Left.

“We follow the principle of class struggle. And it was based on this that we had build our movement. But few wrong decisions and conflict driven by ethnic identity had taken a toll on us,” Santo told PTI.

Such was once the clout of the CPI, that with five seats in kitty it played a major role in the ascension of Congress to power in 2002 led by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.

The first Congress government in 2002 was known as a Congress-CPI coalition called Secular Progressive Front (SPF).