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Naga scholars discuss Nagaland opposition-less Govt.

Naga scholars

Say people have to be aware of political ideologies while exercising franchise

KOHIMA, JUNE 24: The Naga Scholars’ Association (NSA), Kohima Unit, today organized a panel discussion on the topic “Opposition-less government in a democracy: Trends and challenges” at Kohima College, Kohima.
The prime objective of the discussion was to gain deeper understanding of the opposition-less Government and to assess and understand the impact of opposition-less Government on the people of Nagaland, said NSA Kohima Unit official.
The panelists were Senior Fellow, Asian Conference, Shillong, Meghalaya, Dr Khriezo Yhome; Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Sazolie College, Dr David Sachü; Head of Department of Political Science, Don Bosco College, Dr Tovika Swu and Advisor NSA Kohima Regional Unit and president of Nagaland Education Association Dr Zavise Rume.
They were of the view that much has been said about opposition-less Government while the State has been witnessing legislators of the State Assembly coming together mainly for Naga Political Issue.
In this, they were of the view that scholars, academicians and intellectual community need to examine, analyze and assess the concept of opposition-less Government.
Expressing that no government truly or wholly represents the whole opinions of the people, they were of the view that an opposition bench is required to represent the voice of the unrepresented people.
Nagaland needs a strong opposition to strengthen the Government, they said.
Nonetheless, the panelists were of the opinion that the general populace should take proper decision in electing their representatives and should not fall prey to the candidates for money and other allurements.
Panelist Dr Khriezo Yhome said Nagaland became the first State to have an opposition-less Government giving a new nomenclature despite the use of names such as unity government or all party government.
Lamenting that the state of democracy has been declining with passage of time, he said now democracy has been diminished with opposition not having a voice because of the rise in strong political leaders.
He also said that political parties in Nagaland lack ideological politics, which is the only way to provide social welfare.
Pointing that such arrangement of an opposition-less Government should be time bound with specific purpose, he said Naga legislators have been coming together in the name of resolution of Naga Political issue. In this, he wondered if the Government was planning to dissolve the current Assembly after the NPI is resolved.
“In the name of democracy we have plutocracy which is the rule of the rich and wealthy and money culture. Unless we bring change and have deep thinking it will be difficult and we are not going anywhere”, he said.
Panelist Dr Tovika Swu defining democracy said the trend that is happening in the world and Nagaland has opposition less Government but it is dangerous and challenges the existence of democracy.
The true essence of democracy is to have an opposition in the Assembly, he said, adding that “we elect our representative to be our spokesperson but with opposition less Government, democracy is at threat”.
It is happening because many join political parties without understanding the political ideology and especially in Nagaland political parties do not have any political ideology.
In this, he suggested that it is the role of teachers and scholars to make people understand the essence of democracy and political ideology so that democracy will not be at threat.
“2023 elections saw the death of democracy in Nagaland as candidates were fighting for tickets of two parties only”, he said.
Panelist Dr David Sachü touching on Nagaland perspective said opposition-less Government has been happening since 1998 with only one opposition then and followed by 2015, 2021 and 2023.
Opposition-less Government is eroding the very fabric of democracy, he said adding that it is more on political adventurism because of strong political leadership.
Remarking that the elected representatives have to be answerable to their people, he said in Nagaland there is not much ideological difference between the political parties as the main target is for resolution of Naga Political Issue.
Citing the 2023 general election trend, he said “if such is to continue instead of holding elections it will be better to go for selection mode because a healthy democracy cannot thrive without an opposition.
Panelist Dr Rume said this is neither a political discussion nor a political argument/debate but it is purely an academic exercise.
He said that the formation of opposition-less Government is the responsibility of the elected 60 MLAs who represent the entire people of the State as they had joined the Government to form/install an opposition-less Government despite people not wanting so.
People have voted them to be their representative and it is a people’s Government, he said, adding that the philosophy of a democratic republic government rests with the people and not political parties.
Expressing that party system is alien to Naga culture, he said, it is in contrary to the traditional indigenous Naga polity.
In an opposition party system of government, the responsibility of the people to own their own government is shifted to political party or parties who happen to secure majority in people’s House of Representatives while the responsibility of the people is now shifted to criticize or pinpoint the mistakes or failures or weakness of the people’s government, he said
Rume said that if there is no opposition to policies and programmes, it would be harmful and dangerous to the people. He also feared that it would lead to anarchy where the powerful politicians would be tempted to think of the affairs of the state in their own terms and conditions.
Opposition-less government does not mean MLAs can’t oppose the government they are running but there is a need for an internal democratic opposition within the government.
Members of Legislative Assembly must oppose the government policies or programmes or ideologies or principles dangerous or harmful to the people for whom they are elected.
There should be a rational distribution of resources and leadership while also a healthy debate in the government itself, he suggested, adding that every MLA should be a critic to his or her own government.
Rume also said that people themselves should also be critics to this people’s government instead of relying on certain opposition parties or parties to play the role of opposition.
Rume said Opposition-less government does not mean MLAs are voiceless while the subject matter of politics and government or State is not necessarily limited to politicians or social workers alone.
Despite an opposition-less Government, there is a need for regular dialogue and interface within the Government, with people/individual, professional irrespective of party affiliation for general welfare, he said.
“Opposition-less government should be a consensus and equal responsibility should be shared irrespective of the party affiliation without being dominated by any party. People should raise the voice and come out with opposition or support”, he said.
(Page News Service)