Setting back final deal by 60 days After LS polls what ?


Lok Sabha election notification out. Voting to start from April 11 and go on till May 19 stretched over seven phases. Counting to be conducted on May 23 and election process to be on till May 27. In other words the election code of conduct will be in force till May 27. Nothing extraordinary here for this is something which happens every five years, when the Lok Sabha election is held. At the level of a State this again happens once every five years when Assembly election is held. So what sets apart this year’s Lok Sabha elections, is the natural question that follows. This may not have much of a bearing on other States of the country but at least to some of the North Eastern States, this means that the ongoing peace talks between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India will be further delayed by more than 60 days. Sixty days may not mean much, given the fact that the peace process has been on for nearly 22 years now, but in a way the sense of urgency that came after the Framework Agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 seems set to go up in the dust that will be kicked up from the hustle and bustle that will accompany the coming election. And to be sure, all focus will be on the Lok Sabha election, even amongst the most ardent followers of the peace process, which in a way could mean giving a back seat to the peace process which has been underway since August 1, 1997. The sense of anxiety can also be felt in the backdrop of the fact that it is not a given that the BJP will come back to power after the elections and in the event of another party heading the next Government, all the progress witnessed after 2014 may just be neutralised.
This is what must be troubling the minds of the top leadership of the NSCN (IM). May not be out of line to say that the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections will then be watched closely by the Naga armed group, in fact more than others in India. To Narendra Modi and his band of faithfuls as well as to the Congress the coming election will be more than just a question of who gets the mandate of the people to rule the country for the next five years. It could mean outdoing their political rival in the best way possible and the BJP must surely be guided by its Congress Mukt slogan. To the NSCN (IM) the election too will be crucial for it would mean which direction the peace process proceeds and if a logical conclusion can be brought about via the Framework Agreement. This is what will make the coming Lok Sabha elections all that more interesting, especially in the places dominated by the Naga people. Will the Nagas of Nagaland vote differently from the Nagas of Manipur is a question that will be interesting to watch in the coming days. Given the composition of the voters in the Outer Parliamentary Constituency in Manipur, the seven Assembly Constituencies from the valley could have a significant say and this is where the influence and role of former Chief Minister O Ibobi will be tested.

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