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NDPP’s biggest challenge and opportunity: ‘deliver Solution’, make history

Nagaland News

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, MAY 19: Every challenge in politics is actually an opportunity ~ this is the situation with the NDPP today.
Hardly a 5-year-old outfit, it has emerged as a strong regional and anti-Congress force under one of the longest surviving politicians, Neiphiu Rio.
The Chief Minister’s pragmatic politics has made things difficult for its regional rival NPF and its towering President Shurhozelie. In the past, Rio had made politics miserable for Congress and especially its veteran leader SC Jamir.
One with right political acumen, Rio kept friendship with the BJP even during the UPA days in power.
This was certainly a challenging decade because Congress and Communists’ power politics pushed for everything that would be anti-BJP and even anti-Hindu.
The saffron party has strong pro-Hindu lineage and hence as a Christian leader in a Christian majority State, Rio showed political decisiveness and ‘did not disown BJP’.
This came handy for him in the long run and BJP’s organisational leadership under Rajnath Singh as party chief and Ram Lal as organisational in-charge in 2013-14 gave him adequate importance.
In 2014, when Narendra Modi was to be felicitated as NDA leader, Ram Lal himself gave the opportunity to Rio in preference to late PA Sangma, a former Lok Sabha Speaker and senior Parliamentarian.
Of course there is a debate also on how Rio himself benefited from ‘BJP’s weak leadership in Nagaland’ ~ which did not try very hard for organisational growth of the saffron party in the State.
But the BJP under Narendra Modi and Amit Shah is very ambitious. But peculiarity of Naga politics and Christianity and perceived ‘Church influence’ factor always made Rio a dependable ally for the BJP.
He is perhaps still an ‘asset’ provided he does two things: avoid crude anti-BJP politics ~ something a section of NDPP leaders has pushed in recent weeks; and, more importantly Rio as Chief Minister has to deliver ‘Peace and an early Solution’.
Playing his cards close to his chest, Rio is avoiding media interaction in Delhi.
This is not a bad move because at this juncture even the likes of Amit Shah would want him to deliver peace and facilitate an ‘early solution’ and significantly ‘keep all stakeholders’ on board. Media show is not important.
Neiphiu Rio is smart enough to understand that if he delivers the political history of Nagaland would remember him.
Importantly, solution to Naga problem will be a mega feather in the cap for Prime Minister Narendra Modi ~ who does not mind glamour associated with the challenges of ‘solving’ the oldest and vexed insurgency problem in South Asia.
Moreover, the complexity of the Naga political problem is so much that there will be an ‘aura’ if a pact is inked and there is a ‘bear-hug’moment of embrace between PM Modi and Naga militant leaders.
Rio also would do well to know that the Prime Minister ‘remembers and rewards’ personal sincerity and friendship.
Yes ~ SC Jamir’s perceived healthy working relationship with Modi is a glaring example to strengthen this argument.
For his part, Jamir is now an individual and may get some media limelight but Chief Minister Rio is the ‘elected Chief Minister’ in office and heads the NDPP-BJP alliance (NPF only a late co-passenger).
So, forget Rio’s differences with his deputy Y Patton or blatant rivalries with other State BJP leaders. These can be set aside, and if Rio can deliver a Solution with all ‘stakeholders’, his name would automatically make it in history with golden letters.
Friendship with BJP suits Rio in the short and long run and the story is same the other way round too ~ at least till a peace pact is inked.
At the centre of Naga peace talks, challenges and other complexities, stands the ‘elected Chief Minister in office’. No one can dispute this.
If the Prime Minister in office will get credit for good works, some credit will be showered on the incumbent Chief Minister as well.
Rio is not a political naive. He knows, therefore, how to prepare himself to emerge as the man who made a right synthesis with his pro-BJP tilt since 2003 and anti-Congress approaches in his pragmatic politics and also on development and for ensuring long lasting peace.
The 4-lane Dimapur-Kohima road is essentially an Atal Bihari Vajpayee gift to Rio’s regime.
The BJP-led dispensation has also obliged him with the greenfield airport project.
It’s time to play further constructive politics, and no one knows it better than Rio himself.

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