Thursday, November 26, 2020

Political Restiveness

Sitting in the Opposition Bench in the Nagaland State Assembly doesn’t go down too well with our elected representatives ~ as our state political history would bear. So, not surprisingly, a couple of weeks ago or so, some NPF MLAs had already started showing of restiveness that seem to afflict those sitting on the Opposition Bench in Nagaland in a matter of time, much egged on by the ruling party/parties ~ so they approached their party’s higher-ups to make some kind of overture to the NDPP, which leads Nagaland’s the PDA Government. Impatient with the NPF leadership’s either refusal or dilly-dallying with the idea, seven of them decided to take matters into their hands and openly declared their support for the consensus candidate of the PDA allies on the ostensible ground that they are disappointed with their party’s, the NPF, failure to put up a candidate for the Lok Sabha elections ~ thereby inviting disciplinary action against them. Nothing could be more pathetic than this excuse. Besides, it clearly shows that these seven MLAs are unable to see the bigger political picture ~ as it is in the country at this juncture and/or otherwise also. The fact is no political party needs to necessarily put up candidates for any elections. The Congress didn’t for the last Nagaland Assembly elections in several constituencies for various reasons and almost all political parties have some reason or the other not to field candidates for one or the other election. Even in these Lok Sabha elections some political parties haven’t fielded any candidates ~ mostly as a matter of expedience. It is likely that these seven NPF MLAs may be suspended or expelled from the NPF, which would give them a kind of legitimate alibi to cross over to the NDPP ~ but then again, knowing this scenario, the NPF higher-ups may come up with some kind of “truce” or “understanding” with these MLAs just to protect its strength in the state Assembly. In a matter of days, we will certainly know which way the wind blows. But MLAs switching over to parties in power is old hat and seeing the history of our state overground politics, it is almost expected ~ because political integrity is alien to our politicians. So the issue here is: why are our elected representatives so averse to sitting in the Opposition Bench, especially seeing that even while sitting in the Treasury Bench they do not perform and deliver the goods? Except for enjoying the perks and pelf of office, what difference does it really make to the public whether an elected representative to the Nagaland Assembly sits in the Treasury or Opposition Bench? Our elected representatives are so distanced from the people and their needs, as well as from their constitutional obligations that they have little idea of the contempt they invite ~ no, not that they are bothered about such contempt from the public ~ because money speaks loudest during elections. And that is the tragic tale of the Naga voter and the Naga public. Simultaneously, the Naga voter and public is also so distanced from and so ignorant about the constitutional and moral obligations of elected representatives that the shenanigans of our power and money-hungry elected representatives are accepted as “normal” part of politics. Against this background, there is no hope for Nagaland to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of the country ~ no, not that a good part of the country also don’t indulge in these “warlord” style of politics. We have also seen two NPP MLAs switching over to the NDPP recently ~ the only explanation could be that everybody wants to be a winner and embrace the winner’s “trophy”. Now, the other issue that needs analysis. Why do we always want to be winners when sometimes we show more integrity by being losers? But then what and how much do we know about integrity? Looking at the kind of politics across India, it is generally believed that integrity is alien to politics in the country but the fact is politics without integrity is not politics ~ it is goondaism and lumpenization of politics. If today there is a semblance of political order in the country, it is because of a few politicians with integrity. In a matter of time when the Lok Sabha election results are declared, we will come to know how many from Nagaland belong to the group of politicians with integrity.