Nagaland’s misfortunate


In the Nagaland Page Editorial of February 28 last, titled: Act I, Act II, Act III, Act IV, I had written, “Yes,
these next three days will see more politicking for government formation than was seen in the run-up to the elections. Then Act III, Scene 1 will begin with whoever forms the government seeking to cement its strength in the Assembly during which elected representatives will be most sought after ~ and if we go by past experience, those who can pay the most will emerge as winner. In Act III, Scene II, horse-trading will continue by those whose ambitions the electorate disregarded, rendering an unstable government. Act IV, the final Act, will see the people going back to square one. And all of us ~ political parties, politicians and the people ~ will once again live unhappily ever after.” Lest it be said that these are prophetic words, let it be asserted that they aren’t ~ not because of the absence of a clear cut mandate but because every elected representative wants to sit on the Treasury Bench, never in the Opposition. This is a trend that has been set decades ago and this trend will not disappear in a hurry ~ not when there are still quite a few the same old same olds still grabbing on to power by hook or by crook. Nagaland’s misfortunate is that this culture has been so readily internalized and imbibed by the younger generation of politicians, who were expected to usher in change in the political culture of our state. Change, therefore, is a utopian dream sold and bought in all our elections. So, as we have seen, if there is change, obviously, it is for the worse ~ after all, change does not necessarily connote the positive. Over the next few days, there will be a lot of analyses about the recent Assembly elections and almost all the whys and hows would be dissected, and as things become clearer we will have a more accurate picture of what actually happened and about how the next five years will be for us. But at the moment, it can be safely said that for the next few months, probably longer, the stability, or the instability, of the state Government ~ whoever forms it ~ will once again take the centre-stage ~ not just of our state politics but also of our entire existence ~ as it had, especially in the past four years. This is because of the numbers that emerged out of the recently-concluded elections and the results thereof. If we look at the numbers ~ NPF – 26, NDPP – 18, BJP – 12, NPP – 2, JD (U) – 1, Independent – 1, we will notice that there is ample scope for allegiance and alliance juggling, especially keeping in mind that (1) the BJP was very up-front about aligning itself with whoever forms the Government, (2) the notorious fickle-mindedness of politicians as far as the word of honour is concerned, and, (3) a good number of those elected were in another party, some even as Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, just the other day and their ghar-wapsi is not an improbability ~ ‘never’ is a word that doesn’t exist in the political lexicon. So anything can happen tomorrow, or next week or the months within the year or beyond. What, in the meanwhile, remains to be seen is how well each political party in Nagaland organizes itself for the next elections ~ because, as we have seen, one of the BJP’s strongest points is its undivided attention on organization-building, which is one of the factors that have catapulted it to power in 21 states. If political parties in Nagaland must learn one lesson from the BJP and its performance in the recently-concluded elections, it must be organization-building ~ otherwise, they will be gifting the BJP the 2023 state Assembly elections on a Silver platter. Yes, of course, money and muscle power have always played the pivotal role in election here but there are also other factors that have provided the support-system to money and muscle power. These are the factors Nagaland political parties and the people must focus on because most of them are downright unconstitutional and unethical, which will cast darker shadows on the political firmament of Nagaland, which in turn will change Nagaland into a state where it could very well be criminal to take ownership of our lives, much less, have aspirations.