The BJP and the Congress are going all out in Manipur with their respective oaths to protect its leaders from switching camps after the poll results.
The Manipur Pradesh Congress is planning a Goa type ‘firewall’ – party candidates will have to take an ‘oath of allegiance’ to the party which will force them to stay with the party after the poll results. Similarly, the BJP in the state has signed an “agreement of cooperation” with its members, cautioning them against switching sides.
The Congress, like its loyalty pledge in Goa, is doing this to create a ‘moral obligation’ for the candidates so that they do not switch sides after polls. In the 2017 Assembly polls in Manipur, the Congress was single largest party with 28 MLAs; however, as many as 16 party MLAs crossed over to the BJP over the last five years.
The BJP in the state, on the other hand, is dealing with the problem of plenty – in about 40 seats out of total 60 in the state, the BJP has 3-4 strong ‘intending candidates’. The party has organised a series of ‘sensitization’ meetings to bring about an ‘agreement’ between the candidates so that they cooperate and do not sabotage the prospects of the candidate who finally gets the ticket.
The Manipur Congress is working out ‘modalities’ on how the oath will be administered.
Manipur Congress Vice President and spokesperson Kh. Devabrata Singh said, “The Congress party has taken a decision of administering an oath of allegiance for the candidates in Manipur. The process was started from Goa. We cannot stop any candidates of joining other parties but this will create a huge impact on the candidates. It has been seen that many Congress legislators were poached by the BJP. We are sure that this oath of allegiance would stop political poaching to some extent.”
“In the last election, we have witnessed that the Congress winning candidates had jumped to the BJP and helped them form the government. We have taken a decision to hold nominees to account morally through oath of allegiance. The elected MLAs have assured us that they would not switch to other parties,” Mr Singh added.
The BJP too is keeping a close watch on its members.
“In BJP we already had a series of meetings with intending candidates including me, we have signed a agreement of cooperation and not to switch over. This is more on moral grounds” said Ch Bijoy, BJP Spokesperson.