f it pays to keep voters in good humour, the ruling Congress and CPI coalition in Manipur has put itself at a disadvantage, alienating nearly 100,000 government employees by not implementing the Sixth Pay Commission's proposals. The block of government staffers, a sizeable chunk of the 1.7 million electorate, has appealed to people not to vote for the ruling parties.
The move could hurt the Congress-CPI Secular Progressive Front government, which is in power since 2002 and targeting a hat-trick in the January 28 assembly elections.
"We are appealing to the people to replace the anti-employee government because it has failed to implement the Sixth Pay Commission in toto," said Chingtham Chandramani Singh, secretary general of the joint administrative council (JAC) of All Manipur Trade Union Council (AMTUC) and All Manipur Government Employees Organisation (AMGEO).
The two employee groups have an additional 30,000 pensioners as members - another chunk of worry for the ruling parties.
On May 17 last year, the JAC had observed Black Day to mark one year of the failure of talks with the government on implementation of salaries proposed by the pay commission.
M Debendro of the Council of Teachers Association said government employees had even gone on a 45-day cease-work agitation last year, calling it off after the code of conduct for the coming polls came into effect.
The state government has so far not reacted to the employee groups' appeal to the electorate to vote against it.
While the government employees are hoping their fight for revised pay becomes a poll plank, students of DM College of Science in capital Imphal have brought money splurge of a dubious kind into focus. The students held a sit-in protest on Saturday against "the trend" of wooing voters with money.
Source : Hindustan Times