A Leap Into The Unknown - Eastern Mirror
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A Leap into the Unknown

By The Editorial Team Updated: Sep 15, 2016 12:01 am

Today we are in no need of reminding just how murky and expensive, even fatally brutal, election campaigns – and by association, politicians – can sometimes be beneath the lofty surface of rhetoric and oration. We all have been witness to this failure. And we all, by one way or the other have made it possible to be a failure. Clean elections, and all that it entails, is such a curious test.

In the months leading up to the last state assembly elections, there were two very vocal and loud advocates championing the campaign for clean elections. On every public medium available, we witnessed our women organizations and youth groups shout for clean elections. Newspaper reports, post-elections, made for some interesting readings. At least two of our local newspapers had reported that at the forefront of proxy voting – at almost every polling station – were women and young people. Elections were cleaned, alright.

From the very beginning, clean elections campaign in Nagaland – despite its crystal-clear principle – always felt like a leap into the unknown. Such was the context, and it is still so today. This is not to suggest that any such campaign is doomed. On the contrary, this is to suggest that the message is clear – we cannot be but persistent. That it shall be an extraordinarily long road to hoe.

The recent initiative of the Langpangkong Kaketshir Mungdang, (Langpangkong Students’ Conference) to introduce clean elections campaign in their range is, without doubt, a welcome push in the course of the long march to redemption. It is even more delightful that the movement has been engineered by the student community. More than anything else, it shows that prior efforts have not been in vain. That there has been germination.

Needless to say, it is still a work in progress. But at least it seeks to put an end to the days of putting an entire village in lockdown on Election Day just so that the council members can cast vote on behalf of all the villagers. In the last state assembly elections, candidates from Mokokchung district were estimated to have spent Rs 230 crore on electioneering. According to the data of official Census 2011, the entire population (of all age-groups) of Mokokchung is 194,622. On an average, that would mean Rs 118.17 was spent on each and every person (from the youngest to the eldest) living in Mokokchung district in the last elections.

The LKM initiative, for so many reasons, will prove decisive not just within Langpangkong but the entire Mokokchung district. Right now, for the remaining people of the district, it represents a curiosity to be studied closely. As ever, scepticism persists. But there is no proxy to collective honesty. And clean elections is a collective choice.

By The Editorial Team Updated: Sep 15, 2016 12:01:43 am
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