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Plenty of money: Famine of leadership

K L Chishi

Chishi explains electoral Corruption with onion layers

Nirendra Dev
DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 24: Unlike him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an unimpressive and average speech at Dimapur.
Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew has been one of my favourite characters. The charismatic leader changed the fate of his tiny nation and his people by insisting on a good sense of balance between discipline and democracy.
In India, discipline is lacking and so-called democratic forces including our own left liberals and intellectuals in the media have always spoken about freedom but without discipline and accountability. Leftists promoted trade Unionism but no work culture. The Northeastern States followed it up. The work culture vanished long back.
The Congress encouraged and thrived in corruption. Easy money became legitimate claims.
Regional parties in Assam ~ like the AGP, in Meghalaya and Nagaland ~ most often became more Congress than the Congress.
Party hopping became political culture. Buying votes became accepted norms. The BJP was seen as a party with a difference.
Today the same politicians think common people have gone much ahead in greed. KL Chishi calls them hungry crocodiles; K Therie says cash for votes is a ‘dangor paap’ ~ big sin.
Chishi, at this age, is becoming more candid and says, “We do not know where we are heading”.
Voters seem to agree. One Voter in Dimapur-III said, “No one is concerned about Solution to the Naga issue. No one is talking about Development. I am interested in the Bolero.”
Long back Henry Kissenger had said that most leaders are not visionary but only managerial.
In Nagaland ~ we often say ‘try to manage’.
The language may differ, the story is the same even in Tripura ~ one-time communist bastion.
In Meghalaya polls, the amount could be insignificant than what is being spent by God-fearing candidates in Nagaland ~ but money is a major player in polls.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a typical average speech at Dimapur on February 24.
The compulsion of keeping NDPP and its favourites, like the grossly failed BJP Nagaland president, happy bothered him much.
But his statement that more stringent actions will be taken against extortionists once the new government is sworn in reflects an admission ~ extortion is a reality. No amount of Himanta Biswa Sarma-friendly tales can make a difference to this agony of people in Nagaland. Who is legitimizing them?
Chishi says in Nagaland elections, money has to be spent at different levels hence, “I want you to understand the onion layers minutely”.
“One has to spend some money first for prayer meetings, informal gatherings, etc. Then comes voters’ families and then even individual voters… By 2018 standards people spent more than Rs 1.2 crore yet lost elections because the other side could have spent more.”
Coming back to Kissinger, he had said the leadership should have “the capacity for analysis, strategy, courage and character”. He also believed that leadership is “most essential” during periods of transition.
So, we know where the shoe should pinch. Leadership cannot be purchased and hence there are plenty of political pygmies irrespective of party affiliations. To many of Margaret Thatcher admirers, though she was dangerously “self-opinionated”, she could modernize Great Britain and made it, if not great again, at least a relevant Britain.
In today’s situation when votes are purchased and sold, Nagaland should struggle to remain relevant. Leaders will have to be created; they cannot be created by social media jokes or with oxygen supplied from Assam.
It’s called shining in reflected glory.
The NDPP and the BJP deserve to be given a mandate that befits them. People of Nagaland should call their bluff.

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