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Parties busy playing politics as Nagaland struggles to fight COVID-19

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Kohima, April 17: Even as the world is united in the fight against the unprecedented challenge caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic that has claimed scores of lives, an outlandish situation prevails in Nagaland with political parties and NGOs trying to score points even in this situation.
Undeniably there are discrepancies and lackadaisical approach to the current issue by the State Government, but what has flabbergasted the citizens is political parties trying to score political points at this juncture, and some NGOs, instead of appreciating the initiatives of the Government, whatever little, are playing no less than like the political parties, attacking the Government for what they claim is the snail pace progress in preparation to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
But interestingly, sometimes these organizations have either their own interest, or politically influenced agenda. Disagreements and mudslinging among political parties, organizations and groups, have confused and perplexed the people on whom to believe.
People are still in the midst of coping with lockdowns, quarantine, deaths and grief, uncertain of their future. In fact, now is not the time for scoring political point or politicize the COVID-19 issue but work collectively to save lives. Many are of the view that for the sake of people political parties should set aside their differences, and mutually battle the virus.
Unlike here, political parties in other states have come to collectively combat the COVID-19 pandemic. In Nagaland, newspapers and news outlets are flooded with mudslinging, accusations and allegations by political parties and some organizations.
“This is not the time for politicizing the situation. All should work together to fight a common enemy. There should not be any distraction”, says a senior politician.
The opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) which has 25 MLAs has contributed to Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and to the Prime Minister’s Care Fund, but at the same time they have been attacking and criticizing the Government since day one, when Government started preparations to fight COVID-19.
The Congress is also all out to castigate the State Government for alleged mishandling of the situation, so also the National People’s Party (NNP) and Janata Dal (United), both once allies of PDA Government, have castigated the Government for slow progress in planning.
A spin-doctor of the ruling ally, National Democratic People’s Party (NDPP), said the present situation is a test for all cutting across political parties. He said when the world is united in fighting the pandemic, no political party or group should try to score points based on narrow interests.
But the NPF alleges that the Government has not taken them into confidence and that they are being relegated as ordinary citizens. Recently the Government had included several opposition MLAs in the lists to coordinate with the Government in the districts across the State. Nevertheless, the cock party said that is not enough, as their constituencies have been neglected by the Government.
A senior NPF leader said there was no proper coordination between the lawmakers. He said proper coordination can accelerate the preparations and implementation of lockdown effectively.
Media in-charge of NDPP and former Minister, Merentoshi Jamir said they will not enter into paper war with anyone, be it political parties or organizations at this juncture when people are fighting a common enemy. He said his party appreciated the concerns raised from all quarters and welcome such suggestions in the days to come too. But he said the party has asked and requested everyone to try and desist from politics and finger pointing during these trying times.
On Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio failing to convene an all party meeting till date to chalk out a common strategy, the NDPP spokesman said such meeting is up to the Government. But he added that opposition MLAs have come forward to participate and have been assigned to differed districts, which was a positive step on the part of the Government and the opposition party.
“We are positive that we will see more cohesiveness in the days to come and less accusations and finger pointing,” he said.
Jamir also expressed optimism that all should come together, leaving aside differences, so that we can overcome this time of crisis. “We need the efforts of everyone,” he added. (Page News Service)

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