NEW DELHI, MAY 26: The repeated takes on Nagaland politics against the backdrop of possible journey towards a Solution to the Naga political issue might have become a bit boring for some.
On May 26-27, 2022 ~ one can go national and there are reasons for that. Eight years back on May 26 (2014), Narendra Modi had taken over the reins of governance in India.
Only a few days before the swearing in, as a media person who covered Modi and Gujarat since 2002 mayhem, I was interviewed by the website ‘Matters India’.
To a question on Modi ‘encouraging crony capitalism’ ~ among other things, I had added a line ~ “…how Robert Vadra [husband of Priyanka Gandhi] could make so much money. Was it not crony capitalism? In Nagaland, about Government-contractors deal, it’s said, payments are received on earth for works done in heaven. And that’s a Christian State”.
Do I have to tender an apology for stating so about Nagaland? “You need not” ~ cryptically commented a few Naga politicians and ex-bureaucrat friends. Others too may say the same thing. And I have always valued my friendship with Nagas!
What is the stage of corruption now? In the last few years, one was told about an industry called extortion!
Recently, on May 20, the Nagaland Government directed the closure of all police and departmental check-gates in the State to combat ‘illegal collection’ of money from vehicles.
A notification by the State Home Department said that while the State Government has issued several directives in the past to stop illegal money collection, reports, however, continue to be received alleging illegal collection from vehicles on roads and at various check-gates by organizations, groups, Government agencies and private individuals. Is this not one of those amazing things?
Then, why was RN Ravi blasted and even ‘boycotted’?
On May 24, the Rising People’s Party (RPP) alleged that a sum of Rs 65 crore was withdrawn fraudulently.
There is an FIR and the RPP claims the matter also has reached the Court. This is a pretty good amount and if even half the allegation or corruption money involved is true, the beneficiaries are really ‘lucky’. My words, ‘works done in heaven….etc’.
The fact of the matter is this phrase was once put into circulation by Editor-turned-politician MJ Akbar.
This is not to suggest that the media believes everything the RPP is saying about the allegation of defalcation. But the matter definitely deserves a serious probe and soul-searching by the society itself.
Coming back to the Modi Government in the last 8 years, no major scam has been alleged substantively.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s allegation of such charges vis-à-vis purchase of Rafale aircraft has been rejected both by the Supreme Court and also the people of India. Rather the campaign line: ‘Chowkidar chor hae’ had backfired and perhaps drawn sympathy for Prime Minister Modi.
Coming back to the interview, I was asked – Why did India succumb to Modi mania?
My response was: “It’s the hunger for change. Modi and BJP played ‘dream merchants’ at a time when people’s mood was down-slide…Modi represented different aspirations to different sets of people and perhaps that’s the yardstick of the mass appeal of a leader.”
People in Nagaland also clamour with their version of ‘hunger for change’.
Former CM SC Jamir says the Prime Minister has “guts” and it is so essential to deal with the
Naga peace talks as there is a great risk of abrogating the 27-year-old ceasefire.
As the talks lingered, some of the former Babus and ex-negotiators had gala time and these need not be discussed here.
My experience with Delhi intellectuals and political class gives me an instinct-guided feeling that hundreds of Modi detractors are waiting on the wings for the Prime Minister to fail. They do not mind even if Modi ‘fails’ on the Naga peace parleys. Normalcy and peace in Nagaland are not their concern.
One knows a few such know-all intellectuals from Kolkata too. So take media reports and opinion pieces with a pinch of salt. They said Modi is losing 2019 polls; and now they could easily say the Solution to the Naga issue would also fail.
Sadistic pleasure is only a small reason. There are other reasons too.
One knows of netas of all hues who say now there is now ‘no guarantee’ ~ unlike the Congress days ~ that the right lobbying would fetch expected results whether for national awards or contracts or even some much sought-after postings.
This is also true of business and getting a few key political appointments.
Next time you meet the neta class in Dimapur and Kohima, quiz them on this.
My plea has been that things have changed and so do not bank on old habits of the Congress era when things could be managed by lobbying etc., etc.!
The BJP leadership may encourage politicking and so on but nothing is now manageable with money!
Lastly, in 2014 in a blog piece I had penned: “For Congress – the big message (of Lok Sabha polls) will be a rejection for dynasty…for Congress, which suffered defeats in December 2013 Assembly polls to hope for a revival under Rahul Gandhi was going to be like pinning jelly to a wall”.
Sometimes cynics are right.