The political uncertainty and fate of Naga political issue
Oken Jeet Sandham
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he outcome of the assembly elections in five states—Rajasthan, MP, Delhi, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram—was something frightening. The BJP has got absolute majorities in three States while in Delhi it has faced short of 4 to form the Government. In Mizoram, the Congress retained. Delhi was not only the stronghold of the Congress but also the face of the country. Delhi’s three-time powerful Congress Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit finally became the victim of the strong anti-Congress wave that had swept across the country.However, the outcome of Delhi Assembly election has thrown uncertain political future as the single largest BJP is not prepared to stake claim to form the next Government. It has already declared that it preferred to sit in Opposition. The AAP, which decimated the Congress came second with 28 seats, said it would neither lend support to any party nor willing to seek support from any. It also said to sit in Opposition. The scenario in Delhi is increasingly clear that it may be placed under President’s Rule.
The AAP that fought on the “pro-people” and “anti-corruption” poll plank feels that it will be suicidal to form Government in Delhi by taking support either from the BJP or the Congress. But the fact is if the PR is imposed in Delhi and holding of fresh election announced, the BJP may increase its tally from the present 32 to nearly 40, while AAP may hang around the same strength they have now. Because it is an anti-Congress wave that has been sweeping across and not the anti-BJP wave. Yet, it is far more honorable for the AAP to face fresh election as it will enhance its political credibility in the eyes of the country.
The outcome of these assembly elections will definitely have major impact on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections due early next year. This country has witnessed the activities of the Congress-led UPA Government led by Dr Singh at the Center for the last one decade. The common men across the length and breadth of the country are not fully convinced by his leadership, though he is generally considered as “Clean.” But he seemed lacking political will and courage on many occasions and not decisive. That affected his image considerably and he became most the unpopular Prime Minister of the country.
Scandal after scandal involving high profile and powerful Ministers in his Government had damaged his political standing and the very so-called “Clean tag” has lost its relevance along the way. Some of his Ministers landed in jails over the years.
The price rise issue is also one of the main factors to the Congress electoral debacle th is time but at the same time, the rise of vociferous Narendra Modi as a national leader and making him the Prime Ministerial candidate of the main Opposition BJP also became spoilsports to the Congress in many parts of the country.
Today’s youth are more well-informed, educated, well-versed and they are not interested to live any more on the hollowness and rhetoric of politicians. They have clearly seen the weakness of their Prime Minister on many issues.
On the other hand, they have seen the kind of leadership in Modi who knows how to keep today’s youth close-knitted with his political strategies, visions and plans for the future of the country. Besides, they see in Modi that he can take the country forward. At the same time, the Western countries as well as many powerful countries started appreciating his performances as Chief Minister in Gujarat. This man is thoroughly prepared for the game and most of the Congress veterans in the country are seen finding difficulties to face him. All these factors have given political edge to him.
Modi even knows the importance of the northeastern region and its people who have also been victims of a weak leadership of the country. They would also like to see someone who can really take care of their wellbeing. One should also realize that youth of the region are equally concerned for their future. In many areas, the region is far behind than many parts of the country. We are completing 66 years of Independence and living in 21st Century. They also want to enjoy like others.
The political uncertainty and the fate of Naga political issue:
When such a very unpredictable political scenario fast emerges, what do we think of the ongoing political dialogues between the leaders of the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India? It has been 16 years since the signing of the ceasefire agreement between them and more than 60 rounds of political talks have already been held and both sides have really narrowed down their differences over the years. They could manage to remove political glitches. This is, without doubt, a big achievement on their parts.
Out of the 16 years of peace process, the present Congress-led UPA Government has been dealing with the Naga underground leaders for the last almost 10 years. Dr Singh used to say that the solution to the protracted Naga issue would be arrived at during his tenure. It is, certainly, a welcome gesture. But in reality, it is easier said than done for the fact that the nature of the process is political and when political stability is not there, no political talks can be safely held whatever the case may be. And the political instability in the Congress-led UPA increases while their allies are heaping all the blames of the present political crises on the weak leadership meaning the Prime Minister of the country.
Yet, one should keep in mind that the present UPA Government is a coalition one and the majority Congress alone cannot take any political decision as such on the Naga issue without the consent of their allies. Besides, the issue needs debating on the floor of the Parliament while seeking opinions of the respective Chief Ministers of the region. Because of this complicated process, a strong political will with a stable Government at the Center is the need of the hour.
On the other hand, present Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has been running the affairs of the State since 2003 after defeating the powerful Congress regime of Dr SC Jamir. It has been now almost 11 years that he has been at the helms of affairs of the State as the peace process between the Naga underground leaders and the Government of India completes 16 years. But he kept saying that they were not a party to talks and acting only as “facilitator” to the process. Rio also used to say that talks were going in the right direction but not being able to share any stages of the talks. Many also described Prime Minister Dr Singh as “sincere” to the Naga issue. Yet none of them had courage to say the “Timeframe” of the settlement to the issue. Everyone is still kept in the dark of the issue even after 16 years of the process. This vague style of development is also largely responsible to destroying the “confidence” of the masses.
I think this is ridiculous. Something is wrong somewhere. One should not run politics like this at the cost of finding a political solution. If you cannot push the process further, tell to the people that we cannot. It appears that no responsibilities are there with the leaders. Sometimes, they talked big things even to the extent of international politics. They seemed to have suffered from “I-know-everything syndrome.”
Now, in all probability nothing is going to happen to the Naga issue during Dr Singh’s tenure as Prime Minister of this great nation. We have to keep our fingers crossed till such time when new guards take over to run the country.