Clean Election: Towards Social Responsibility

Dr Asangba Tzudir

Clean Election in Nagaland may not have reached a stage to call it a peoples’ movement. However, spearheaded by NBCC, Clean Election can be said to have succeeded in creating mass awareness. Beyond which, one may say that clean election has failed; however, it is not the responsibility to the Church to make a success of clean election in the full sense of the term. While some may not agree, but it has made important strides in creating mass awareness among the general populace. Sadly, we tend to be captivated by negativity instead of celebrating the success stories. 

Further, while Clean Election is still in the process of conscientizing people, to judge for its success or failure within a finality is premature. However, the success of it based on how Clean Election was wholly conceived will largely depend on the mass making it as a mass movement. And to make it a success of it is not for the Church alone but for the general populace to understand that Clean Election needs to be taken as a social responsibility and not simply as a responsibility of the Churches.

Within this spirit, the Chakhesang Baptist Church Council (CBCC) has launched the guidelines of the Chakhesang Clean Election Movement (CCEM) which was also endorsed by the Chakhesang Public Organization (CPO). Such endorsement by the CPO translates into social responsibility, and more so clean election becoming a public movement rather than a Church movement.

The Chakhesang Clean Election Movement guideline for Clean and Fair election has gone beyond creating awareness, going to the extent of asking to resign for a period of 5 years from church ministry if Church workers wishes to involve in the election campaign. The other Church organizations can also take a lesson from the CCEM guidelines so that ‘clean election’ in ‘partnership’ with the respective public/tribe organizations can go beyond awareness by translating it into a people’s movement. So long as the Church is left to wage a lone ‘battle’ it will never turn into a people’s movement.  

The Election Commission of India has informed that the total number of electors in Nagaland was 13,09,651. Of which 6,53,616 are male while 6,56,035 are female. The state has 6,970 Person with Disability electors, 1,675 centenarian (100+) electors and 30,049 first time voters. This is the number of people that is going to decide the fate of the 60 seats in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, and most importantly decide whether clean election is going to become a movement. Also, the content of Clean Election need not be defined because, beyond  the rules and norms and the ethicality, humans as conscious beings is governed by a moral order and knows what is right and wrong, good and bad or what is clean and unclean. Thus, it is about whether one is willing to be responsible for the greater good of the society and for the future generations.

Change will never happen overnight, and an issue as such is a time taking process considering the ground realities. Within a collectivity, Clean Election should be taken not simply as a ‘right in itself’ but a ‘responsibility’ bound by duty in the expression of a social concern. It is time to make Clean Election into a people’s movement. 

(Dr Asangba Tzudir contributes a weekly guest editorial to The Morung Express. Comments can be emailed to asangtz@gmail.com)