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Solution, not election: Imchen wants PR in the interim

By Our Correspondent Updated: Oct 23, 2017 12:18 am
Imkong L Imchen seen interacting with journalists at Kohima on October 22. (EM Images)

Says state assembly elections should not be held in view of ‘impending Naga political solution’
Our Correspondent
Kohima, Oct. 22 (EMN): With the state assembly election slated for February 2018, and in view of the much talked-about political solution in its final stage, the minister for Health and Family Welfare, Imkong L Imchen felt that the election should not be held, and President’s Rule promulgated in the state.
Imchen, who is known for being an outspoken person, opined that the impending Nagaland state assembly elections should allowed to “be lapsed by March 15, 2018 constitutionally” thereby necessitating the central government to promulgate President’s Rule in place of popular government in view of the impending political settlement.
Addressing the media persons at his official residence in Kohima this afternoon, Imchen felt that if the election are allowed to be conducted, there will be ‘lots of tensions and discord,’ besides unreasonable expenditure.
Once the election has been conducted, he opined that even though elected members may be willing to demit their seats, supporters may not agree thereby resulting in ‘so many unpredictable and unwanted developments’ which may even disturb the impending resolution of the Naga history.
Moreover, with only a few months left for the present term, the minister was of the view that such steps will avoid ‘unnecessary social discord,’ besides helping the political talks in its processes.
Also bringing a pertinent matter to the fore, Imchen observed that though different political parties, civil society groups and stakeholders have been extending unconditional support to the ongoing political talks for an ‘honourable’ and ‘acceptable’ to all sections of the people, he was surprised that so far no one has tried to define and question as to what exactly ‘honourable’ and ‘acceptable’ solution means for the Nagas.
Terming these two words associated with the support as ‘conditional support’, Imchen maintained that there should not be any conditional support referring to the then Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao’s visit to Dimapur in 1976 who was reported to have said that ‘there should not be any condition’ referring to the Naga political issue.
Though he is from the NPF party, the politician said, ‘The NPF party has also been giving our support in the ongoing political talk with these two conditions. I also strongly support the NPF party stand even though I really don’t understand what the actual definition of honourable’ and ‘acceptable’ is and therefore, I call it ‘conditional support’” stated the minister.
Acknowledging the fact that many of his colleagues ‘doesn’t like his language,’ Imchen however affirmed that as a political party one should be clear of its political approach and stand, but not in such an ambiguous position like ‘conditional support.’
While stating that the Naga political issue in its final stage has been made possible because of the sincerity and cooperation exhibited by both the negotiating parties, besides getting support from various quarters, Imchen candidly stated that in a way that state politicians, including himself have misled the Naga undergrounds for having the ‘double-tongue, double-talk and double-standard’ but had never been straight nor honest while dealing with the Naga underground personnel and leaders.
“We always talk goodness of Naga undergrounders (sic) in their presence and talk different in their absence because we dare not speak the truth,” said Imchen, and added that no one has really ventured out to talk about the prevailing reality.
Talking about the 16-Point Agreement and Article 371 (A), Imchen opined that the ‘two dimensions are two-in-one’ which are negotiated by politicians and are political interpretations. However, he lamented that these are left at the mercy of legal practitioners for interpretation.
‘The ironic status today of these two dimensions is both of them were unilaterally made out of context by the government of India,’ he said. Imchen added that even though Naga people talk so much about it, the government of India has already done away with both for all practical purposes.
Therefore, he cautioned that the Naga negotiating parties, especially NSCN-IM should be aware of the inherent difficulties, be alert and level-headed while conducting this difficult negotiation with the government of India so that ‘we don’t regret in the future.’
Terming the invitation of the six Naga underground groups for talks as a ‘good and positive sign’, Imchen felt that the NSCN-K should not be left out but also taken into confidence.
He maintained that it was time for all Nagas to ‘sink the petty differences’ and contribute their ‘best understanding and wisdom’ so that the Naga political issue could be brought about to a negotiated settlement this time.
“Keeping in view of all these inherent reasons, as a patriotic Naga I feel that the impending general assembly election in the state in 2018 should go lapse (sic) by March 15, 2018 and everybody should concentrate and give support to the ongoing political dialogue with utmost sincerity,” the minister said.
He justified his view by asking: “Why allow election if the government of India is really sincere to bring about a political settlement?”

By Our Correspondent Updated: Oct 23, 2017 12:18:01 am