After one of the most tumultuous of all terms, the Nagaland Legislative Assembly is finally coming to an end as it completes 5 years. The current 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly had witnessed three different persons as chief ministers with a total of 4 swearing-ins. Unless the Central government, that has the power to, extends the term, it will end by March 2018. The NPF party first came to power in 2003 by winning the then elections mainly on the plank of the Naga political settlement and had been in power for three consecutive terms. In what can be termed as a bad timing, the Framework Agreement that was signed between the NSCN(IM) and the Government of India happened during this term.
At present the uncertainty of whether a solution will be finalised before or after the elections persist at every level of the Naga society both within and outside the state. There have been various speculations and rumours that are also currently doing the rounds. The latest being the probability of elections not being held if the final solution comes before it. It had also evoked various representations from the present government to the Union leaders to finalise it before the elections. One of the ministers of the present government also went up to the extent of the need to promulgate President Rule in the state by letting the term of the assembly to lapse. His point of view was that elections would divide the people more.
Whatever the case, it would be unwise not to have an elected body of representatives under the constitution it at all a final solution has to be declared and implemented upon. Without a mandated body like the Nagaland Legislative Assembly with its 60 MLAs and the 2 MPs at the Centre, the question of legitimacy will linger on as evident with the increasing number of supposed stakeholders that has recently increased manifold. Inclusivity is the keyword at present and for the sake of permanent peace it is being taken into account and explored upon which is appreciable. However, inclusivity can never be in totality and those propounding it as a possibility needs to be corrected.
Consequently, the body of representatives and organisations that legally have the mandate of the people are even being questioned due to the sudden spurt of many actors in the arena. Even the apex tribe organisations that traditionally have the mandate of the people is also being already questioned for some tribes. The unseen powerful lobby within every tribe is quite active at present among the tribes. If the solution has to be final with peace as a condition then the continued presence of legally mandated bodies like the Nagaland Legislative Assembly and the apex tribe organisations are a necessity. The decisions by these bodies will be unquestionable even by international standards.
Elections will no doubt divide the people but on the other hand, the chances of the next elections being more issue based is certain. After 15 years of the NPF rule in the state, the actual election to be fought on the Naga political issue has come now only. It actually will be the most crucial of all elections in the history of the state and cleaner too. An election to be fought on issues and not for the benefit of a person, clan, khel, village, region or tribe.