Nagaland: ‘Opposition-less government will do more harm than good’
Kohima: With all political parties extending support to the ruling government led by the NDPP- BJP alliance, the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly appears to be heading towards an opposition-less government, again.
However, academicians and educationists told Eastern Mirror that the opposition-less government will do more harm than good for any democratic society.
John Sema, professor of Political Science, Nagaland University, Lumami, observed: ‘Any civilised, any developed and in any democratic country, there should be opposition so that the government does not misuse the power and abuse positions. But there should be healthy growth in the all-round development of the state.’
‘Those who were not given the majority mandate of the people should sit in the opposition. They should give constructive criticism to the government and check misusing of power. If everybody goes to the government, either way, they have not been given the public mandate because they don’t enjoy the majority mandate of the people of Nagaland,’ he pointed out.
‘Let the government enjoy the mandate of the people. But other parties who are not in the majority mandate of the electorate should sit in the opposition because they become the puppet of the government in power’, the professor opined.
He went on to add that in a democratic country, there should be an opposition — not in the sense of opposing all activities of the government, but there should be some checks on the ruling government to see if it is ‘playing wrong or misusing the power and positions’.
He further opined that ruling without opposition is not a healthy democratic system.
‘The problem in Nagaland is that almost all the candidates contested the elections spending lots of money and nobody wants to be in the opposition. They want to be in the good books of the ruling government so they get an advantage,’ he shared.
He warned that it won’t be good for the state. “I don’t think anything can be achieved” with the opposition-less government in place, he added.
Speaking about the NPF MLAs joining the NDPP to expedite the Naga political solution in the last tenure, he said that was just a ‘political gimmick’. “Their real intention behind it is to be in the power”, he said.
Educationist and counseling psychologist, Dr. Zavise Rume, pointed out that Naga society is a ‘classless society’ and in this context, if a state government can be an opposition-less government, then it will set a model democracy for the world.
He suggested that in an opposition-less government, every member should support the government for the welfare of the people but the members should also be given the right to oppose anything in the government, which may be harmful or going against the welfare of the people.
He added that an opposition-less government should be a consensus agreed by all the members of the legislative assembly, irrespective of party affiliations, where the powers and functions of the government and responsibilities are shared with all the members and the government is not dominated by certain political parties.
This, he said, will also remove a lot of regional disparities in terms of development where there is a rational distribution of resources.
Otherwise, in ground reality, the meaning of an opposition-less government will bear no meaning and this type of exercise will create a lot of chaos in the society, he observed.
‘In a republic state like India, the people’s mandate is the ultimate reality. The representatives are expected to represent the voice of the people. Therefore, it is quite democratic to have an opposition bench so that they play a constructive role by offering criticism to the government, to analyse and assess the roles played by the government. It does not mean that the opposition party is an enemy of the government,’ he said.
“In the absence of such opposition in the present government, every member of the assembly irrespective of the party affiliations should be given an opportunity to promote or oppose the government whenever the need arises”, he went on to add.
‘Opposition-less govt. won’t bring solution’
Professor John Sema also said that he “does not think that any solution” to the Naga political issue is arriving in the next few years even with the opposition-less government.
Saying that elections in Nagaland involve crores of rupees, everybody would now like to recover the money that they have spent during the election.
“I don’t see any future that the elected representatives will step down to pave the way for the political solution. I don’t see that they will be able to do that unless the government of India is willing to do it. If the GOI is willing, they could have imposed President’s Rule and election could have been suspended for some months and then within that, they could have done it. But they have not done it”.
He went on to add that the elected members are not facilitating the Naga peace process as claimed. ‘The solution to the Naga political issue is not with the NLA. But it is done by the NPGs and GOI and they can only create a conducive atmosphere,’ he said.
The NDPP-BJP alliance won a majority with 37 out of 60 seats in the recently concluded state assembly election. The other political parties that won seats had also come forward and extended support to the new government, paving way for an opposition-less government.
While the portfolios announced had the BJP and NDPP legislators, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the NDPP-BJP will discuss and take consultation with the parties and decide on the support being extended to the ruling government by the other political parties.