Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers

The public anger against them and their parties, as displayed in Imphal on June 18, 2001, when the state assembly building was burnt down by a rampaging crowd, refuses to go away from the collective memories of the politicians in the northeastern state of Manipur. As a result, most contestants in the upcoming state assembly polls slated for February 14 and 21 are keeping a low profile, lest the people’s wrath boil over again.

Public anger had come to the fore on two counts: the insensitive handling of the extension of the Naga ceasefire to Manipur and the continuous squabbling the politicians indulged in to grab power after President’s rule was imposed less than two years after the state assembly was elected in February 2000. Now former friends are fighting as foes in an election that comes at a time when the state is completely bankrupt and the people’s confidence in the political class at an all-time low.