Dimapur, April 2: An interactive event titled ‘Voters’ Voice: An Interface’ to discuss the “Peoples Agenda in Election 2019” held here today ahead of the April 11 Lok Sabha polls in the State saw politicians and voters coming face to face to discuss the challenges and opportunities of Nagaland and its people and what they could expect from their lone elected representative in the Lok Sabha after their party is voted to power.
The panelists representing political parties (Congress, NPF and a representative of Independent candidate) were unanimous that “such interfaces are very important” although still relatively new in Nagaland. However, the NDPP and NPP were conspicuous by their absence as their representatives did not show up.
Four candidates are in fray for the lone Lok Sabha seat from Nagaland – KL Chishi of Congress, PDA consensus candidate Tokheho Yepthomi of NDPP, Hayithung Tungoe of NPP and Independent candidate Dr MM Thromwa Konyak.
While it is not clear whether the organizers had extended invitation to the BJP, organizers said invitations were given to NDPP and NPP but no representatives from the two parties turned up for the event.
While the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the issue of whether the commercial city of Dimapur should be brought under the purview of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) dominated the three-hour long interaction, political parties that were represented admitted that the state of education and that of unemployment among youths in Nagaland is a real concern.
NPCC general secretary Capt. G K Zhimomi lamented that the education sector in the State is in shambles. He highlighted the issue of proxy teachers, lack of proper mechanism for advancing the welfare of teachers, etc as some of areas of real concern.
On introduction of ILP in Dimapur, Zhimomi said it remains to be seen as how actually it is implemented, while also pointing out that Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s comment that the people of northeast must be exempted defeats its very purpose. He also cautioned ILP implementation in Dimapur must not result in unnecessary harassment of genuine Indians who have been living in the city for generations.
On women reservation, he said Congress will enact 33% women reservation in parliament and assemblies if voted to power.
Co-convener of NPF legal cell, Vimeno Nakhro said that the CAB, Article 371 (A) and the ILP are important issues that need to be assessed and understood not as one, but separate issues. She was of the opinion that “the NDA government is confusing the public as the CAB, Art 371 (A) and the ILP are three separate issues and we have to be very careful and don’t get confused.” She added that ILP implementation in Dimapur is not very practical.
Nakhro also felt that reservation for women should be provided, although she said there will be many women who would want to face the challenges on their own merit and that too should be recognized. There are women who don’t need reservation; but there are still many who do need it in patriarchal Naga society, she said.
Dr Chingo Walim Konyak who represented the aspirations of the Independent candidate, delved on the campaign for giving women equal opportunities like men in different aspects of life, including politics. According to him “women’s reservation should be implemented as he believed that “in Nagaland women and men have equal opportunity and so opportunities must be given.”
Dr Chingo added that though the independent candidate cannot have a manifesto in public domain, but if elected, works will be done towards removal of corruption.
The event was organized by the Social Actions for New Alternatives (SANA)-India which is a civil society organization that has been started by a group of former journalist and clean election advocates in India, besides the CAN Youth, a Dimapur based youth led non-profit organization and Path Finders, which does advocacy on children and women’s rights in Nagaland. (Page News Service)