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Tryst with the Rio Mystique: Nagaland waiting for a renaissance?

Neiphiu Rio

Why CM remembers NNPG’s Status Paper?

Nirendra Dev
DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 15: The real battle is between the forces led by Neiphiu Rio and supported by BJP and others opposed to him.
The BJP Vision Document sells big dreams but not much substance. There is no mention of Peace talks and Mr Rio says “…we are together as one”. Some of his remarks reflect worries though ~ as he says there should not be any confusion and misunderstanding between the two parties.
The common Naga citizens generally speak vaguely these days. As it is ‘Na jaane ho...’ was a characteristic admission of being clueless. Top of it there are other confusing puzzles: “Holey bhi...”
It may be difficult to find effective English phrases to describe these emotions.
The rebels within the BJP against 20:40 formula or against Rio and also from outside were not quite toothless. But till the end they remained clueless about saffron party’s central leadership’s intent.
Elections and academic examinations are different. Yet there is a stark similarity. In both cases, people overestimate one’s strengths. It is only in retrospect that the real strength is realised. BJP is now heading for zero in Mokokchung district and also Tenyimi belt. Wokha ~ it maybe one.
Unlike what they do across India, in Nagaland the BJP was readily playing passive and second fiddle to the NDPP. With logic defeated, the Naga voters will now have to ponder for months to discover what was and is BJP’s ”Mann Ki Intention’ about Nagas.
Chief Minister Rio has given his usual spin. He says the number of MLAs and MPs will be increased. His new ‘more district formula’ of 2022 has been rewarded by Eastern Nagaland people in the form of ’emotional and financial separation’. Will NDPP still do well there?
But while referring to more MLAs and MPs, he forgets to mention NNPG. Mr N Kitovi Zhimomi and his group need lion’s heart to forgive but never forget Rio’s status quo games. Keeping Solution at bay has left NNPG anguished.
However, in their camp, NNPG leaders and cadres will be scanning Rio’s February 13 speech on 20 new MLAs.
It is in the NNPG document Status Paper that these points appear.
The Pg 24 of Status Paper ~ something agreed between NNPG and Government of India in 2017 says: “The number of Constituencies for Lok Sabha from Nagaland shall be increased by four in addition to the existing seat and that to Rajya Sabha by 3 from the existing single seat”. Similarly on Pg 19, it says: the lower House to be called Leacy Hoho will have 80 members.
So what the Chief Minister is saying is nothing new. Important is, why is he saying so now and why Pughoboto was chosen as a destination.
This is going to be an election that will keep the entire State captivated. Oh, to be the Nagaland in- charge for BJP when Rio is CM should turn out as a life-time’ assignment.
Even his worst of detractors have given up. Everyone seems to believe that Neiphiu Rio’s victory is a foregone conclusion.
Somewhere I was told that the miracle of a genuine election is the secrecy of public opinion.
On ground people have their issues. Some do remember extortion, joblessness and tribalism. Others will forget their concerns for the next fortnight.
All attempts in the past to end Rio’s stint in office have proved a Quixotic, that is like a fairy tale and extremely idealistic.