Will the 11, 38,215 electorates stand up?
As another political drama unfolds in Nagaland, one is reminded of the classic 1973 hit ‘Yesterday Once More,’ by The Carpenters. But the similarity stops here. While hit-sibling ‘nostalgically transported the listener’ back in times in an aptly titled album ‘Now & Then,’ no such respite in offing in the present situation.
One is neither nostalgic nor under any illusion, but is acutely aware of our faddishness and wretched political affliction as the perpetual power struggle continues to unravel in our midst.
The intricacies, antics and moves in the recurring crisis in Naga political arena has had been discussed ad nauseam. However, the modus operandi is simple. The bone of contention is always the ‘leadership’ while subsequent hopping of affinities becomes a calculated political gamble for each participant as they indulge in the real life version of ‘the game of thrones.’
In each political maelstrom, the concerned actor(s) throw tantrums, form camps, and play out their intrigue game safely ensconced away in a resort – usually far from the maddening crowd outside the state.
Kaziranga National Park seems to be the favourite haunting place where one’s fortune is decided, depending on the outcome of this zero-sum game, in which ‘one gain is equivalent to the loss of the other.’ Even the Rhinos and Elephants are wary and running away from their ‘uninvited guests’ is the latest jokes doing the round in the state.
As confirmed, the latest upheaval was engineered by present DAN Chairman and former Chief Minister TR Zeliang, still smarting from a casual ‘swapping’ of chair late February, right after the election to Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) crisis. Consequently, the incumbent Chief Minister and Nagaland People’s Front Supremo Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu took office as the 17th Chief Minister of Nagaland on February 22.
Zeliang staked his claim for the Chief Minister’s chair on July 8. Reports indicated that his bête noire, but strange bedfellow – Neiphiu Rio, the lone Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from Nagaland, is providing him ample company.
Despite a resounding mandate to govern the State in 2013, the hallmark of the current NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) tenure, mostly engineered internally by the dominant partner in the coalition. Swamping with fidgety politicians, devoid of any ideology and constantly bidding for an opportune moment to board the ‘gravy train’ of politics, the State is now, ironically, without a formal opposition party. ‘Checks and balances’ of internal power politics do the trick.
Anyone observing the state political drama is befuddled by the shifting loyalties in each episode. The allegory is frighteningly Orwellian. “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”
Will the incessant antics cause the implosion of the NPF party or other political actors? The answer is resounded no.
Self-interest is the single largest motivator of economic activity, argued Adam Smith. Naga politicians, the electorates have conveniently appropriated the same in politics, in ways, that would make Smith, regarded as the father of Modern economics, to roll in his grave in despair. It is the manifestation of the toxic electoral politics that plague every corner of the state.
With added urgency, the Nagas should adopt the maxim of choosing one’s leader wisely. Devoid of such action, the charade will persist in the future, and will keep transporting us to unpleasant yesteryears.
Will the 11, 38,215 electorates stop this farce and raise to the occasion?
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