“We could not understand the logic and reason behind the delay in conducting the ADCs election even after two years of the expiry of tenure,” it said
TFM Ukhrul Correspondent
Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long (TMNL) has expressed displeasure at the “excessive delay” in conducting the Autonomous District Councils general election even after two years since the expiry of the tenure on 31 May, 2020.
A statement issued by TMNL said, “According to the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971 and as per Section 15 of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (Election of Members) Rules, 2009, a general election shall be held for the purpose of constituting a new District Council on the expiration of the duration of the existing District Council or on its dissolution. However, the Government has miserably failed to conduct the election to ADCs of Manipur till date.”
“We could not understand the logic and reason behind the delay in conducting the ADCs election even after two years of the expiry of tenure,” it added.
The statement further said Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020 and 2021 could have been one reason why ADCs election could not be conducted. However, local body elections were held in other Indian States unhindered by the pandemic. “We all know that in the Hills, ADCs are the only local body having certain power and function which has brought certain development in the villages and local settings. However, due to non-holding of the ADCs election, Hill tribal people are deprived of their democratic and constitutional rights to exercise their adult franchise,” it maintained.
TMNL said keeping the grassroots level local Self-Government non-functional in the Hill areas is not only depriving their constitutional rights but also tantamount to suspending the democratic process for the tribal communities in Manipur.
It made it clear that keeping abeyance of the ADCs elections in Hill Areas is not acceptable by any standard. In this regard, the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) has on two occasions resolved and recommended to the Government on holding of ADCs elections on time vide its Resolution No.35/2020(HAC) dated the 8th October, 2020 and Resolution NO.39/2021-(HAC) dated the 12th April, 2021, it said.
However, the Government has failed to conduct the ADCs election without respecting the Constitutional body of the tribal Community of Manipur, added TMNL.
It maintained that the delay in holding the ADCs elections has not only negatively affected the development prospects in the Hill Areas but also gravely de-generated the ethos of the democratic institution of the only local self-Government functioning in the whole of tribal areas.
“We felt that non-holding of ADCs election has the great potential of creating sense of more “Divide between the Hills and the Valley” in Manipur. It may not be wrong to mention here that most of the developments are being concentrated in the Valley while neglecting the Hills for the last many years by successive governments. This is the crux of the matter why tribal people are feeling insecure and displeased,” it said.
In order to bring equal development and justice and fairness in the administration of the State as a whole, Elections to ADCs need to be conducted as soon as possible without any further delay as the proverbial saying goes, “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied” rightly said, it added.
TMNL has appealed to the State Government to conduct the ADCs election before the State Level Shirui Lily Festival or the rainy season keeping in mind the importance and significance of the grassroots level Local Self-Government for keeping democracy alive and functioning in the Hill areas as well.
“We want the State Election Commission to issue notifications to ADCs elections without any further delay as any further delay in holding the ADCs elections is uncalled for and suppressive and oppressive in nature,” it said.
Stating that it is looking forward to a positive response from the State Government including all the stakeholders, TMNL said failing to conduct ADCs election at the earliest may be considered as non-seriousness of the Government for which TMNL may even be compelled to resort to a democratic means of addressing the issue.