As February 27 approaches High octane drama

From “Solution before Election” to now “Serious consequences as per the law of the outfit will be imposed on any of the cadres found defying the decision of the Naga people,“ the upcoming Assembly election in Nagaland is not without its share of high octane drama. On the other hand, the route traversed by some political parties, particularly the NPF, NDPP and BJP too has not been without its share of drama with the three now moving from the joint declaration to stay away from the upcoming polls to now working out seat sharing pacts with the BJP even issuing the first list of 20 candidates. On the other hand is the Core Committee of the Nagaland Tribal Hohos and Civil Organisations, (CCNTHCO), which has moved from its earlier stand of staying away from the polls to now leaving the onus of taking the decision on the respective political parties. It is against these changing stands that the NSCN (IM) has come out with its veiled threats or words of caution to its cadres not to defy the stand of the Naga people. On record it is a warning to all of its cadres not to get involved in the upcoming Assembly elections, but to many the same word can be applied to the intending candidates and the political parties which are bent on taking part in the election. An election where the fight should have been seen and understood in terms of wooing the voters to cast their vote for the candidate of their political party has now become some sort of a bone of contention between those who stand by the ‘Solution before Elections’ call and those who back the stand that the election is another way to take the talks closer to the final pact. Not exactly a question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, but somewhere close to it.
The natural question that follows is, will or should the election be seen as running counter to the efforts to ink the final pact between the Naga groups and the Government of India or should it been as a step towards inking the final pact ? Depends on from which shoulder the question is viewed and understood. If viewed from the shoulder of the NSCN (IM) and the other Naga civil society organisations, then it will definitely be a deterrent to the final pact and if seen from the views of the Central unit of the BJP, then it could be a stepping stone towards the final pact. This is not the first time that the NSCN (IM) has dictated its stand on elections and one just has to recall 1998 when it boycotted the election in Naga areas under the slogan, ‘Solution not Election.’ This stand even affected the election in the Outer Parliamentary Constituency of Manipur back in 1998. Still too early to say which way the wind will blow, but already the poll storm has started to brew in Nagaland. With the NSCN (IM) coming out with its open statement and the BJP going ahead and announcing its list of 20 candidates, are the two headed for a showdown and is this desirable ? The NSCN (IM) has already stated that the upcoming Assembly election is an ‘imposed election’ and it will be interesting to see how things unfold in the coming days.

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