The last House of Nagaland Legislative Assembly without Opposition Bench was like a curry without salt. It was the worst democracy we ever had enjoyed due to lack of check and balance. 100 % in the ruling is indeed against the interest of the State. Such ministry is known as aristocratic government, a government by privileged few. And those few licked the public coffer dry and placed Nagaland in total disarray. The people of Nagaland have to bear the brunt of its aristocratic ramifications for a longer time than deserved.
By the 13th Nagaland State Assembly election, we now have Opposition Bench of NPF. By the standard of the figure of 27 MLAs the Opposition has, it is formidable in the House of 60. Yet, it is observed that it lacks steam to be vibrant. The lethargy of the Opposition may be because of the obsession of the MLAs for ruling since many of them are not used to such position of life in high and dry. Also, may be the members of the opposition are overwhelmed always in hallucination that they are capturing power sooner than later and so why should one struggle. Such hope, if it is false hope, will be the impediment to efficiency in performance. Such obsession will impede on the professionalism of the elected members. The Opposition Bench is expected to work harder and to keep the Treasury Bench on tender hook for the sake of people of the State. No doubt Naga integration and Citizenship Amendment Bill of 2016 are important, but the citizens of Nagaland do not live by these two issues alone. There are 101 issues concerning the welfare of the people needing the voice of the Opposition so as to make democracy work and goods are delivered.
Whereas, the elongated duel between the so called two regional parties of NDPP and NPF on the issues of Naga integration and Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 has been dominating the local papers of late. And had there not been distortion of realism laced with antagonism intended to gain political mileage from gullible public, one in gallery would have remained silent if not for common interest.
Naga Integration: Nagaland CM N. Rio had said that “integration of Naga inhabited areas would not be possible under the current situation…” as I quote it from Nagaland Page dated 13.6.2018. Rio had to face much flak from his old party NPF because of this utterance. The NPF capitalized the statement as though Rio is opposing Naga Integration as the comment stated so. Yet for Naga Integration, GOI had been honest with the Nagas that it is not negotiable. What Rio had said is not a new thing unknown to Nagas. Politically speaking it would have been better for him to remain silent on the issue since he is a mere facilitator and yet such mute would never pave way for the Nagas to have integration. In the heart of heart of Rio, he may or may not be for Naga Integration. Yet, even when he is out and out for Integration, he will not be able to change the mindset of GOI at this very juncture. To speak the truth is not wrong. Sovereignty and Integration are our avowed aspirations and it will remain. Yet, for contemporary politics I feel it is better for the Nagas to talk on common issues in plain language rather than sarcasm. Utopianism is harming our present and future.
NPF’s aspiration for Naga Integration is good, and it is one of the aspirations of the Nagas. But one knows how much NPF can do to integrate the Nagas when it is in power like Rio. Though it is the liberty of NPF to be critical of its opponent, except for the sake of criticism, one cannot be convinced that NPF can do better with the issue on debate beyond pompous rhetoric. Will it not be good for a change that politicians rise above stereotype and boxed politics and do practice practical and positive politics?
Secondly, let me quote the press statement of NDPP appeared in Nagaland Post on 16.6.2018 “….the Cabinet at the June 5 meeting discussed several issues such as the Citizenship(Amendment) Bill 2016. It said Cabinet maintained that as Nagaland is fully protected under 371(A) of the constitution and as ILP is fully operational, the state will oppose the Bill, without hesitation, if went against the interests of Nagas. Further, NDPP said until such as instance takes place, the cabinet decided not to interfere in the policies of the Centre….” Unquote. The central theme of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan as legal Indian citizens. The cut off year for eligibility of the applicant is on or before December 31, 2014 and also if one applicant has been residing in India for the last 12 months. Thus, citizenship will be granted to immigrants from any of these three countries based on religion. Knowing the danger of being submerged by the influx of foreigners from neighbor countries, the NE States opposed the Bill to be passed by Parliament particularly NPP led ministry in Meghalaya decisively opposed the Bill despite of having coalition with BJP. Kudos to CM Comrad.
Whereas, Nagaland Cabinet is found to be so complacent and casual to perilous Bill by which, when passed, will make Nagaland to be its first victim. The Cabinet had taken refuge under the existing laws as Art 371(A) and ILP but the ground reality is, we hardly used these laws for our protection. Look at the growth rate of floating population in Nagaland. Can the PDA Govt. identify illegal immigrants from legal immigrants? Has any defaulter being deported from Nagaland in our recent memory? When the nodal authorities who are responsible for enforcement of these laws have the habit of flagrantly flaunting the laws for personal business what can we be proud of? At this rate, will the Bill in question be afraid of our special laws? The Act will have no respect for the weak State. This decision of Nagaland Cabinet is therefore found to be more saffron than in the interest of the State. Look at the language of the Cabinet, “if went against the interest of Nagas”, what PDA can do when it is passed by Parliament if not voiced disapproval by now. This language implies that when the Act is found detrimental, Nagaland will oppose without hesitation. Illogical and farcical. This is definitely detrimental to the interest of Nagaland. It is unfortunate to have a popular Govt. which is found to be so timid and subservient to Delhi Govt. at the cost of its own citizens. Is this Govt. for Delhi or for Nagaland?
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