Election versus final solution Masala in Nagaland polls

Election sans solution not acceptable. This is the NSCN (IM). Election for solution. This is the BJP. Clearly the upcoming Assembly election in Nagaland is set to elicit more interest not so much as to which party will romp home but how it may impact on the ongoing political negotiation between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India. Both have their points, for remember the peace process between the Naga rebel group and New Delhi started way back in 1997 and a final pact is definitely what everyone would want. On the other hand, the Election Commission of India is again bound to announce the poll dates as per the schedule. Perhaps this is the first time that the NSCN (IM) has spoken out against the election schedule and one hopes that this is nothing more than the proverbial hiccups and everything will be back on track in good time. Solution not election is the catchword which many Naga civil society organisations used, before the Election Commission of India announced the election schedule and while it is highly unlikely that the upcoming Assembly election may be boycotted by any of the Naga CSOs, this nevertheless brings to mind when the NSCN (IM) boycotted elections in Naga dominated districts of Manipur under the same slogan in the latter part of the 1990s. So far the Naga civil society organisations in Manipur have not been very vocal about their stand on the election versus solution question but now that the NSCN (IM) has openly stated their stand, it will be interesting to watch which way the wind blows.
That a final solution is near at hand is something which all those who seem to be in the know have been harping. However the ‘Christmas present’ call of some prominent Naga political leaders particularly former Chief Minister Nephiu Rio has not seen the light of day. Moreover the call for solution before election too seems to have not cut ice with the Election Commission of India. This is what has added that extra dose of masala to the upcoming Assembly election in Nagaland. Moreover it is still not clear whether the NPF will have a pre-poll alliance with the BJP or not but interesting to see that both parties are keeping their doors wide open. As stated earlier in this column, the pending final solution should however not be politicised ahead of the Assembly polls and this is a point which the people of Nagaland should be wary about. After all, the hard earned peace and the pending solution should not be allowed to be used for election propaganda. On the other hand the NSCN (IM) has gone ahead and said that the pending Assembly election is a ‘serious obstacle’ towards finding an early political solution and taking this into consideration, one can understand the seriousness with which the NSCN (IM) has interpreted the ‘election versus final solution’ toss up. One only hopes that neither jeopardise the other. Do not let the election disturb the political negotiation and do not let the political negotiation derail the Assembly election.

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