Heading towards Central rule Focus on Nagaland

Obviously the focus is on Nagaland. And understandably the ongoing peace talk or rather the final pact is central to the attention that Nagaland has drawn. The decision of all the political parties in Nagaland to stay away from the Assembly election, the date for which the Election Commission of India has announced as February 27, is a big call and Delhi cannot simply wished it away. Same is the case with the stand of the other civil society organisations which have all come under the slogan, ‘Solution before Election.’ A sure indicator that the influence of the NSCN (IM) and the six Naga National Political Groups runs deep, very deep. With the two outfits also adopting a similar line, Nagaland may earn the distinction of being the first ever State in India, where elections could not be held due to absence of candidates ! Moreover will anyone dare to venture out and cast his or her vote on voting day ? The answer should be obvious to all. So which way is Nagaland heading towards ? More importantly how will this impact on the political negotiations between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India on the one hand and the engagement with the six NNPGs ? Still too early to say but this is what will keep the people of Nagaland on tenterhooks. The likely scenario may be Nagaland going in for a spell of President’s Rule with the peace parleys gaining momentum on the other hand. The question is, in the absence of a popularly elected Government in Nagaland, will Central rule be able to take the people along with any solution that is inked at the end of the political negotiations ? Moreover how will this impact on the Naga people settled in the neighbouring States of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh ?
At the moment, President’s Rule seems the only option left for the Centre for what Nagaland is hurtling towards is definitely a Constitutional crisis and Central intervention will be the only answer. The Core Committee of the Nagaland Tribal Hohos and Civil Organisations has made their stand clear and the open statement from the NSCN (IM) and the NNPGs has only made their stand firmer. Practically this is a boycott call issued by different organisations, all centred around the slogan, ‘Solution before Election.’ This is not the first time that such a slogan has been raised and one only has to look back to 1998 when the Naga Hoho boycotted elections in the Naga dominated areas. The only difference may be seen through the fact that back in 1998 it was the Congress which reaped the dividends as the NPF heeded the boycott call leaving the field wide open for the Congress. This time it will be different as the Congress too is among the political parties which has stuck by the slogan, ‘Solution before Election.’ The coming days will definitely be interesting and Nagaland has already demonstrated that it wants the final pact before the election. The interesting question is, can the peace talk be accelerated at all ? Is it possible to increase the pace of the talk ? And will New Delhi take the stand of Nagaland positively ? All questions at the moment but to the people of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the more important question will be not when but what the final pact will be.

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