In Nagaland electoral politics context, political parties and candidates has always participated in the general elections on the promises of bringing changes and development. In the run up to the upcoming 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly Election, we see candidates with activism in their spirit speaking out boldly for change in the governance of the state and this present general election will be different from the past elections in many ways. Through this article, I shall point out some factors which differentiate the present general election from the past general election.
Entrance of anti corruption activists in electoral politics
In this year general election, the number of anti corruption activists’ candidates or in other words; candidates who despise the prevailing political situation and governance of the state have increased. Educated youths have realized that, unless they join the electoral politics and enter the system, they are helpless to bring any credible change. One of the main reasons, we see young candidates facing senior politicians in some assembly constituencies. Their hope of winning the election is slim yet facing off veteran sitting MLAs and defeating them in polls is the only way to bail out Nagaland from decades of corruptions in the administration.
The Eastern Promise
New interesting development did took place for the first time in Nagaland statehood history, for the first time the ENPO seriously decided to boycott the general election; later on the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah changed the mind of the ENPO leaders. Only the ENPO and Home Minister know the details of the promises. But one has to keep in mind, failed promises hurt the most.
The rise of BJP in Nagaland
Editor of Imphal Times Pradip Phanjoubam’s 09 March 2018 article, “How BJP won without winning in Nagaland”; pointed out that increase in BJP seats from one in 2013 general election to 12 seats in 2018 general election was not due to steep rise in the BJP’s popularity in Nagaland, but an outcome of the party riding on the support base of Rio’s NDPP party, also pointing out that if there was no split in the NPF and BJP going to polls on its own would not have better results than in 2013 assembly election. This is really true and in many ways Rio has played a major role in the rise of BJP in Nagaland. Another factor responsible for rise of BJP in Christian populated Nagaland is attributed to development oriented approach of the BJP and observers must not confuse it with the secular attitude of the Nagas, here I would like to add that the backslide of the regional parties of the state has allowed to BJP to grow in Nagaland and looking at the current statistics, BJP seems to stay in power in Nagaland for a long time, as history tell us that Nagaland based political party and politicians will flock to whichever party comes to power in centre, putting regional principle at the back.
Increase of women candidates
Compared to past assembly election, this upcoming general election will see four women contesting the polls. The ruling parties, NDPP fielding two women candidate and BJP fielding one woman candidate is indeed a positive sign of development and we can all agree that Nagaland has taken some steps to increase women participation in electoral politics.
Like my former boss use to say that in Nagaland election, candidates elect the voters instead of voters electing the candidate. In this context, I appeal to the voters especially youths, that one should not miss the opportunity of electing a right candidate than to elect a wrong but rich candidate and see our state continue to suffer from corruption and lack of development. Together we can make this assembly election different from past elections and a turning a point in the history of Nagaland, by sending at least one anti-corruption activist turn politician to the house of the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly for the good of our society.
Samziuram Village, Peren