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MLAs as facilitators is a misnomer, says KL Chishi

Nagaland News

PM Modi and Shah must walk the talk

Nirendra Dev
New Delhi, March 13: This piece ought to be read and understood objectively based on two premises.
The first being the tall promises made by BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Home Minister Amit Shah. Now, they must walk the talk.
Secondly, it is for the electorate in Nagaland. They must reflect passionately on the quote from noted writer Paulo Coelho — “If it costs you your peace, it is too expensive”.
For the NDPP and its leader Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, we all know they harangued a lot during the campaign but not many can repose faith in them.
Posing these questions in broad sense and the intense curiosity shown by legislators from parties such as NCP, NPP, RPI, JD-U and LJP (Ram Vilas) to be part of the ruling bandwagon, I quizzed former Chief Minister K L Chishi.
As usual the Congress veteran sounded candid and he remarked, “I have reasons to be pessimistic. Firstly, everyone is looking for opportunities to loot the public fund and hence the craze for opposition-less government”.
On ‘Indo-Naga political issue’, the former Chief Minister said, “I find the concept of facilitator a big time misnomer and redundant”.
“The real onus is on Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and both he and Home Minister
Mr Amit Shah must walk the talk,” Chishi said.
When asked to explain the basis of his remark, Chishi said, “You must understand that all our legislators are under oath to be part of the Indian Constitution and to uphold it. That means they are Indians and they are under oath to adhere to the Indian Constitution. The basic issue is between Nagas who do not agree to the concept of being Indian citizens and the Govt of India. So, in this debate, what choice the MLAs and ministers can make; they are already duty bound under oath to adhere to the Constitution of India”.
Hence, he argued that such leaders cannot be ‘facilitators’ because they are already expected to follow one side and that is the Constitution of India.
“So, my conviction is real facilitators are the common people and their views can be ventilated through civil society and other fora and that way civil society and tribal leaders’ fora can be better and genuine facilitators and not the MLAs because they are already under oath,” Chishi said.
This dilemma or predicament is “not my creation” and this confusion about the status of the MLAs prevails in people’s mind and hence nobody can take them seriously.
“So, the other day I commented on social media that Nagaland can rather opt for Assembly-less State….This step will require all MLAs to resign enbloc and only then we can lay down the foundation of a genuine solution to the Naga problem”.
It was this concept, said Chishi, which made “me and parties such as NDM, NPC and BJP” to stay away from 1998 elections.
Against this background, to a question he said, “The BJP’s slogan of ‘Election for Solution’ appeared too catchy from an electioneering point of view but it lacks logic and conviction. I am not surprised nothing came about that slogan except that we saw the loot for five years. Worse, Nagaland voters were again misled to vote for another round of loot”.
“Having taken oath of allegiance to the Constitution of India to uphold and maintain the integrity and solidarity of India, there is simply no more space to be facilitators,” Chishi opined.
On the issue of ‘opposition-less’ Government, Chishi said, “I told you I rejected such an offer in 1990. Opposition-less is anti democracy. It gives you the license to keep the accountability in a locked box and throw the box into a well”.
To another question, he said, “If you feel pressure in my voice, it is deliberate and yes, as a Naga leader I am angry….Things have derailed a lot and the rest of the derailment is being done deliberately by some Naga leaders and also some from outside”.
He further said, “I will say when the elected Members are desperate to join the executive, that is, the ministry, they are failing in their obligation to be elected legislators which is their principal job. And regretfully, they are doing so with ‘mens rea’. The doctrine is mens rea is used in legal language, it means people have mental elements or intentions to commit a crime from the stage of planning. This is dangerous. In jurisprudence, we say this intent is a necessary element of committing multiple crimes”.
To another question, Chishi maintained: “What locus standi has the Chief Minister of another state of India to be consulted on Indo Naga political issue. Is he a supreme commander?”