Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Can Nagaland elections be deferred?

Nagaland News

What happens to hard-earned Himanta’s gift of ‘20-40’?  

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 29: It could be a sheer coincidence or a case of journalistic malady ~ that is, reading too much between the lines.
Will Nagaland elections, due in February-March 2023, be deferred?
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio told a public function at Kezoma village that if a solution to the Naga problem is reached, the State polls could be deferred.
Of course, he is possibly stating the obvious. There is no big deal in it; and hence the statement did not make headlines even in most local newspapers.
Nagaland Page too deliberately and quite aptly played down Rio’s remarks on the possibility of deferment of polls. Of course, one daily was an exception.
An important reason could be, let us all take the word of a politician ~ and that of Rio’s calibre
and a successful Neta ~ with a pinch of salt.
However, something unusual happened in BJP circles in Delhi.
An informal paper/note circulated among some party leaders missed the name of Nagaland.
The small note talks about the saffron party’s focused approaches for Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Mizoram (all due in 2023) and even Telangana (which is due in 2024), but Nagaland was a miss.
This could be a genuine error.
However, there are certain pros and cons involved which is making observers wonder whether elections will be postponed.
Firstly, from the BJP’s point of view, election preparations are in full swing in two other Northeastern States ~ Tripura and Meghalaya.
In Tripura, a senior UP leader has been named as election in-charge while in Meghalaya, three key central leaders and one office bearer from Assam are traveling the State and have kick-started the poll-related works.
Uttar Pradesh BJP leader Mahendra Singh is credited with the party’s success in the Assam
Assembly elections of 2016.
The ruling BJP in Tripura also set up a 16-member election management committee.
As evidence of BJP’s approach, there are already talks that a few NPP legislators of Conrad Sangma’s outfit could be jumping ship and embracing the Lotus party.
The formal withdrawal of support to the Conrad Sangma Government in Meghalaya by the two-MLA strong BJP is yet to be announced.
But hard politics have commenced on ground.
Of course, in Nagaland, for reasons best known to Amit Shah and Himanta Biswa Sarma, the saffron party would be contesting only 20 seats as against 40 by poll-enthusiast NDPP of Rio.
Moreover, the BJP was expected to name a new State unit president but nothing has happened
and more than party insiders, most ticket aspirants from outside the party-fold would be upset about the inertia from a party otherwise led by hyper active PM Narendra Modi.
So, one argument is: what is there to prepare for 20 seats when the onus will be on Chief Minister Rio to ensure BJP picks up a few seats. Left to NDPP, the BJP should be happy winning 3-4 seats only but Narendra Modi’s image should be made use of by the so-called NDPP-BJP coalition.
To add to the confusion BJP has appointed constituency-level in-charges in all 60 segments including Northern Angami II.
Politics can be more often a strange game, which the mortal media may not understand at all!