It is true that a democratically elected government is better than having central rule imposed from Delhi. People have the right to have a government of their choice and therefore they elect their leaders or party to govern them. This is the essence of democracy—an elected government of the people, by the people and for the people.
However when this power or people’s mandate and sacred trust continue to be abused and misused by our ruling politicians, the question arises as to whether President’s Rule would be a better alternative for people’s welfare.
Let us try and assess why President’s Rule may be good for Nagaland and its people at this juncture—keeping in mind the murky political situation, financial crisis and also the prospect of a time-bound solution on the Naga issue as stated by the BJP led NDA government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While the Governor should have as his first priority the need to explore all options to have a democratically elected government in place, he should however not remain oblivious to the long-drawn-out infighting and political stalemate within the ruling NPF, which is now clearly rampant without a meeting point.
Even if the Shurhozelie government survives the present crisis or a new leader takes his place to form another government, the Governor should use the discretion allowed by the constitution to ensure that whatever political formation comes into place should be in a position to provide a stable and accountable government.
The other option for the Governor is to recommend President’s Rule without dissolving the House, in which case the Legislature will be put under ‘suspended animation’. It will be up to the NPF to reconcile and set its house in order so that the Governor is convinced that a stable government can be provided for the people. The Assembly can then be restored and the government allowed to complete its full term.
The Nagaland Governor will hopefully apply his mind and take all these into consideration before deciding on the current political crisis.
The other point to be noted is that this is perhaps a good opportunity to prepare the ground for the much talked about political solution, which the Modi government is proposing within the near foreseeable future. If the present Modi government delivers on a time-bound solution, as it has stated, in all probability this will be done before the next Assembly election, which is sometime in early 2018.
So in any case the present Assembly and government may not last its full five year term if Modi delivers on the Framework Agreement. And since past governments as well as the present one has assured to step down in the event of a solution, there is a strong case for President’s Rule to be effected so that the transition period is used to rebuild the State and to provide a stable and peaceful environment so that all Nagas irrespective of politics or factions, both over-ground and under-ground, can come together.
In any case if President’s Rule does indeed come, the fault will be no one else’s but ours because we invited this eventuality by our greed for money and power. Though undemocratic, President’s Rule may become a necessary evil, to cleanse and restore our polity.We have only ourselves to blame. In the end, a short spell of Modi’s rule in Nagaland may be just what the good doctor ordered, to cure our present ills and to prepare us for better days ahead.
(The writer is a senior journalist and former Editor, The Morung Express)