Rs. 1061 Crore – A Not so Cool Figure

Dr. Asangba Tzüdir

So much has happened since the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly Elections, yet, the Post Election Watch report 2018 released by YouthNet recently once again reminds of the ‘pains’ of election spending resulting in various forms of misery. The report has revealed a not so cool figure at Rs. 1061,09,25,000 which they vouched that the “figures stated are closest to what was actually spent.” The average cost per vote being Rs. 5000-10,000, the selling price of morality.

The present state of affairs beginning with the crumbling infrastructure is also a reflection of such huge election spending. Efforts to sensitise the masses on the negative impacts of selling votes have only resulted in an increase in the amount of election spending. The Elections during the last two decades is a testament of money being the game changer where the chance of winning depends on the amount of money spent.

The report stated that, “what the common man has failed to realise is the compromise on the quality of infrastructural development which is contributing to the overall backwardness of the state.” At the end of the day there is a quiet realisation that the money pocketed by those who sold their votes is the money meant for development.

Be it lack of development or compromised infrastructural development, the silent realisation of the ‘vote sellers’ being culpable is already there. It’s just that they are living in ‘bad faith,’ a kind of self-deception. Also, one cannot expect quality life within a double-standard play. So long as such trend of spending continues, Nagaland will continue to knowingly stay backward.

From about couple of flyover in the beginning of the millennium, Nagaland’s neighbour Assam have made major strides in infrastructural development. Though there is no point doing a comparison between what ‘they’ have and what ‘we’ don’t have unless done with good intent and reasons.

The whole year in the state is filled with celebrations and festivals especially with the additional mini hornbill. If only hornbill festival was properly modelled within the frame of development, all the districts would have been properly connected by roads. One is made to wonder whether Nagaland can think beyond festivals and celebrations. Is Nagaland even dreaming of hosting the National Games? Or an International cricket match or even some matches of the Indian Super League Football, etc.

One stumbling block obviously is the condition of Roads. The current four-lane works creates a sense of temporal joy ending in doubt and despair. It looks promising but it also brings questions of what if, thereby casting doubts over its completion? Or even if it is completed, whether quality will not be compromised is another concern besides the task of maintenance. One can imagine a pot-hole filled four-lane road traffic jam. Considering the rate of increase in the number of vehicles, the worst can be expected.

Well, another New Year is approaching but sadly, Nagaland will not be greeted ‘London bridges’ or world class stadiums and the like. At the end of the day, such a not so cool figure which has gone into so many pockets only heightens the sorry state of affairs, the blame for which is being shared amongst. Ultimately, the average cost per vote which is between Rs. 5000-10,000 is the price for which quality life has been sold off.

(Dr. Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be mailed to