Year Ender: Nagaland 2018: False promises and unfulfilled aspirations

Year Ender: Nagaland 2018: False promises and unfulfilled aspirations

Kohima, December 30: The year 2018 began with great excitement and hope as campaigning to the February 27 State general election was just picking up despite call for deferment of the polls. The year is drawing close again with great festivity that started on 1st December with the Hornbill Festival followed by the Christmas celebration and the impending New Year.
But in between there was nothing much to cheer for the general populace, except unfulfilled promises, hope and aspirations.
As the year 2018 draws to a close, there were indeed many stories that left people scratching their heads. If you have not been able to keep a track of all the stories that made headlines, here is a list of stories as we rewind:
1. Political uncertainty
Political crisis continued in the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) due to power struggle between political bigwigs, as former Chief Minister and Lok Sabha MP, Neiphiu Rio was all out to dismantle the NPF to capture power. With much doubt and anti-incumbency factor, the NPF went to seek mandate and could secure only 27 seats out of 60 thus handing over power to a new Government led by the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), supported by 12 BJP, two NPP and one each of JD (U) and Independent. The new Government promise of bringing change in the State is yet to been seen on the ground.
Earlier the NPF had called for deferment of polls to expedite the peace process, but the BJP said election would facilitate the Naga peace process. Naga apex organisations also demanded deferment of the polls, but the Centre decided to go ahead with the elections.
2. Naga Day
In an effort to push forward the Naga peace process, a Naga Day was organised at Kohima public ground on January 10 asking the Union Government to be sincere and honest to resolve the Naga political problem at the earliest.
3. Neiphiu Rio joins NDPP
Former Chief Minister and Lok Sabha MP, Neiphiu Rio who was trying to dislodge the NPF led DAN Government after his political misadventure in Delhi joined the NDPP on January 17; the party which he formed while he was still an active member of NPF. He promised transparency and corruption free Government if voted to power.
4. K L Chishi resigns
Former Chief Minister K L Chishi resigned to join BJP. Several NPF MLAs joined other political parties like BJP, NDPP and (JDU).
5. NPF to share seats with BJP
The jittery NPF decided to share seats with BJP which was not accepted despite top leaders including Chief Minister, T R Zeliang meeting saffron leaders in New Delhi.
6. NSF rally for deferment of election
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) organised a protest rally at Naga Solidarity Park Kohima on January 23, demanding the Centre and the Election Commission of India (ECI) to defer the poll so as to give impetus to the Naga peace process.
7. NSCN calls for deferment of poll
Along with Naga organisations, the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) called for deferment of State election. Several Naga organisations also teamed up to fight against imposition of election. Several rounds of consultations with political parties were also held subsequently but BJP decided to abstain from attending such meetings and participate in the election.
8. Birth Centenary of Dr. T Ao
The State Government unveiled a yearlong celebration programme of Dr. T. Ao. Governor P.B Acharya unveiled the portrait of Dr. Talimeren Ao, popularly known as Dr. T. Ao on the occasion of the inaugural function of the yearlong celebration of 100th birth anniversary at Raj Bhavan on January 28.
9. NPF MLAs resigns
On January 30, the NPF ridiculed the resignation of nine of its MLAs. Reacting to the resignation of nine NPF legislators from the Assembly, the cock party spin-doctor said it was expected and that nothing surprising for the party. The party said then that the nine former NPF lawmakers have resigned from the Assembly to join the newly formed Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and not as claimed by them.
10. Crack in Naga NGOs over bandh
A dynamics of Naga tribal politics in every sphere of Naga society; a setback to the much hyped core committee of tribal hohos and civil organisations which had proposed total bandh demanding deferment of February 27 state general elections, with some organizations deciding neither to participate in the bandh nor support the call for deferment of elections.
11. BJP-NDPP inks seat share
Union Minister of State for Home and senior BJP leader Kiren Rijiju on February 3 announced that the BJP has entered into a seat-sharing agreement with the newly-floated National Democratic Peoples’ Party (NDPP) ahead of the February 27 Nagaland Assembly polls.
Rijiju, BJP in-charge for Nagaland elections, accompanied by NDPP supremo former Nagaland Chief Minister and Lok Sabha MP Neiphu Rio, said that while the NDPP will contest in 40 seats, the BJP will contest in 20 seats for the election to the 60-member Nagaland Legislative Assembly.
12. JD(U) pulls out of DAN
NPF led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) was on the edge after the BJP decided to ally with NDPP and the Janata Dal (United) pulling out from the alliance ahead of the February 27 polls.
13. BJP vision document
The BJP promised transparency and accountability if voted to power. In its Vision 2018 Document the BJP said administrative reforms will be priority task. “We propose to implement through CMO. Objective is to bring transparency in the government decision making process. Citizen friendly, corrupt free and accountable to the citizens” the document stated.
14. Jerusalem sop for Naga elders
As part of its campaigning and woo voters, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) offered sop to Naga senior citizens for tour of Jerusalem.
This offer was part of the Hindu rightwing party’s Vision 2018 for the State general election.
15. Naga Church against BJP
The Church in the State literally asked the Naga electorates not to vote for BJP which it alleged is a political wing of RSS, and has persecuted scores of Christians in the country.
16. Clean election
Clean Election flags were flying high from ground zero in some parts of the State where political parties are engaged in bitter conflict ahead of the February 27 polls. This indicated that all hopes were not lost for the Naga people whose elections have become costly affair.
17. NIA racks up old case
The BJP, an ally of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) to contest February 27 polls, could be on the job to fix Chief Minister T R Zeliang ahead of the polls, with the NIA racking up old case against TR Zeliang.
18. PM for early solution
On February 22, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi announced that solution to the protracted Naga political problem is just a few months away. Addressing a BJP-NDPP combined election rally at Tuensang Modi exuded confidence that within a couple of months the Union Government and Naga militant groups who are engaged in the talks will hammer out a solution. He was optimistic that a respectable solution would be hammered out within the next few months.
19. State Election
Amidst large scale irregularities elections were held. The world largest democracy only remained in paper as the realities on the ground spoke volumes how democratic process functions and the Election Commission of India (ECI) remaining only a paper tiger.
The democratic process in the State had been deteriorating in the state over the years with the ECI remaining toothless. The ECI once against overlooked the massive irregularity in the recently held State elections.
20. Fractured mandate
With the fractured mandate the BJP emerged as the kingmaker with 12 members.
The Naga People’s Front (NPF) which emerged as the single largest party with 27 members extended invitation to the Hindu nationalist party which it had criticised throughout the poll campaign for alleged anti-Christian crusade. On the other hand the saffron party also said it is not averse to the idea of forming the next government with the cock party.
21. New Government sworn in
On March 7, a new Government led by NDPP was swron-in.
22. Post election violence
Post election violence in the state took a toll by way of expulsion from villages, damaging properties and protests against irregularities.
23. CMO overflows with political appointees
Extra burden were put on the State exchequer with the Chief Minister’s Office being flooded with political appointees. The State Cabinet created 13 political posts in the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister’s Office to accommodate political favours.
24. DGP Rupin Sharma ouster
Deputy Chief Minister who is in-charge of Home Department, Y. Patton wanted Director General of Police (DGP) Rupin Sharma to pack his bags and leave. Patton wrote a letter to Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh citing reasons why he wanted Sharma to pack his bags. He cited reasons that the incumbent DGP is an inexperienced officer who has superseded his seniors.
25. VDB backlog
The State Government to release the backlog of Grand-in-Aid to villages from 2014-18.
26. CBI to probe High Court scam
In a major development which could have ramification on Naga politicians, the Gauhati High Court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe into Nagaland High Court scam.
27. LS by-election
As expected Lok Sabha by-election witnessed moderate turnout with high voting percentage of over 75, due to widespread proxy voting. By and large today’s voting passed off peacefully baring few incidents and reports of malfunctioning of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). Though Election officials have claimed of high voting percentage eye witness accounts reported that most of the voting booths in urban places remained almost empty with high voting percentage due to widespread proxy voting in the midst of webcasting, CCTV and recordings of the proceedings by the Election Commission of India (ECI). The exercise by the ECI has proved futile over the years due to its non-implementation of laid down election rules and procedures.
28. Xavier Rutsa expires
A senior Journalist Xavier Rutsa expired after massive cardiac arrest. Thousands paid homage to the departed Journalist.
29. NSCN (K) strikes
On June 17, at least two security personnel were killed when suspected Naga ultras ambushed them at Aboi town in Mon district.
30. Protest to retain DGP Rupin Sharma
Effort to retain Rupin Sharma as the Director General of Police (DGP) was taken to the streets as first phase. New DGP deputed by the Union Government.
31. Formalin Fishes
Kohima Municipal Council (KMC) on June 25 seized over 5000 kgs of fishes treated with formalin from the outskirt of Kohima during wee hours. Food Safety officials from Health and Family Welfare Department intercepted four pick-up trucks and seized 5280 kgs of fishes found from the four trucks bound for different destinations. Later Government banned formalin laced fishes from the State.
32. Rains create havoc
Incessant rains create havoc throughout the State damaging several roads, properties and claiming several lives.
33. Rally at Tuensang
A public rally would be held at Tuensang July 13 in an effort to give a tempo to the demand for a “Frontier Nagaland” State by the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO).
34. Cabinet meeting in districts
Setting a new trend, the ruling Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) proposed to hold Cabinet Meeting in all the districts. This objective was also to give ample opportunity to the people in governance and take the Government to the doorsteps of the people. The Government said it will give opportunity to all the districts to host the Cabinet Meeting where district officers will be invited to the meeting.
35. NSF Rally
The Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) organised a public procession on August 24, from its office to the official residence of the Chief Minister against alleged influx of illegal immigrants.
36. NPF castigates Govt
The Naga People’s Front (NPF) said in contrary to what the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) had promised to the people, the six months old government was blemished by protests and agitations due to poor governance.
37. Robbers rob biggest church
In a shocking incident on September 4 night, miscreants broke into the biggest Church in Asia and took away Rs 10 lakh in Zunheboto.
38. Japan to take up roads
Japan said it will take up road projects in the State
39. Parties meet Rajnath Singh
The all party delegation on September 10 called on the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh to apprise him of the current situation in the State after it was battered by incessant rain. The all party MLA delegation was led by Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio.
40. ENPO referendum
Intensifying its demand from a State, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) conducted a “public referendum” on September 14 at Tuensang.
41. Dinner diplomacy
A delegation of Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) was in Shillong on September 13 on a feel good mission against the backdrop of Khasi students opposing construction of a patient guest house at Northeast Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS).
42. BJP sets election tone in Nagaland
The edgy BJP set an election tone in the State with the coming of party’s bigwig by the name of Ram Madhev
43. Police Inspector murdered
On September 15 the dead body of a missing Police Inspector who was posted at Pfutsero town was recovered by the public near Pfutsero. The 5 Nagaland Armed Police Inspector Neiphretuo Metsieo, son of Neisalie Metsieo posted at Pfutsero had earlier reported gone missing.
44. Resolution on Naga integration
On September 20, the Nagaland State Assembly for a record time passed a resolution on Naga integration for the sixth time, despite stiff opposition from a section of people, particularly from the Manipur valley. After a marathon discussion on resolution on Indo-Naga political issue the resolution was passed reiterating earlier resolution on Naga integration stating that integration of contiguous Naga areas is a legitimate right of the Nagas. The resolution was initiated by Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio.
45. Backdoor appointment
The ruling and Opposition exchanged fire over backdoor appointments which still continue defying the orders of the State Government.
46. Speaker under scanner of Opposition
The Opposition NPF thought Assembly Speaker, Vikho-o Yhoshu was partial to them in time allocation and not allowing them to avail the Zero Hour, which was rejected twice on September 20 in the Assembly.
47. JPC probe
On September 21, the State Assembly was unanimous to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe into the status of agreement with Civil Engineers Enterprise Pvt. Ltd (CEEPL) Kolkata.
48. Nagaland House Kolkata
The State Government is losing Rs 23 crore annually due to one-sided agreement signed with the Civil Engineers Enterprise Pvt. Ltd (CEEPL), Kolkata in 1997.
49. Imtikumzuk expires
Advisor Imtikumzuk Longkumer expired after prolong illness at New Delhi.
50. NSCN hopeful of solution
On October 25, National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN) said long pending Naga political has reached a point of resolving issues for an amicable solution with the Government of India.
51. Naga Club Centenary
On October 3, on the sideline of exclusive and inclusive celebrations of 100th year of Naga Club at Jotsoma on October 30, and Naga Solidarity Park today, international observers have cautioned of serious backlash due to divisions in the community.
52. Dzukou on fire
Four days before the start of Hornbill Festival miscreants sat fire at Dzukou on November 26.
53. Hornbill Festival
The State Government sanctioned Rs. 5 crore for the festival of festivals.
54. NGOs meet US Envoy
On December 1, frontline Naga organisations appraised the United States of the issues confronting the Naga people, not forgetting the vexed Naga political problem.
55. Naga Council Bandh
In protest against extortion and kidnapping, the Naga Council Dimapur enforced a total bandh of Dimapur on December 10.
56. Khole Konyak passes away
Veteran Naga nationalist and vice chairman of NSCN (IM), Khole Konyak passed away on December 12 in New Delhi.
57. JLF resolution
On December 19, the Joint Legislators’ Forum asked the Centre to expedite the Naga peace process.