DAN’s Reign

The Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio came to power in March 6, 2003 with a plethora of promises as enunciated under the Common Minimum Program (CMP). With the completion of three years in office today, the government under the leadership of Neiphiu Rio needs to be congratulated for taking up development initiatives on a high priority basis. However how far such development remains lopsided will have to be addressed as there have been complaints from people in outlying regions about promises not becoming a reality. The Chief Minister should personally intervene for reviewing and monitoring the works of all the departments undertaking programme implementation of the most remote and backward areas of the State. To ignore this would be have serious repercussion for the future electoral prospects of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and the DAN government he heads.  

Having said that whatever development that is being witnessed today, that much credit belongs to the CEO of Nagaland Inc (Neiphiu Rio) for his managerial skills and business acumen. While frequent factional clashes have projected an uncomfortable image of Nagaland, economic growth seems to be the present mantra nonetheless. Apart from agriculture and allied sectors, public health engineering, community-based programmes, entrepreneurial incentives, sports, and other infrastructural schemes, business sector in particular in Nagaland is witnessing an upward trend. This is largely due to the policy initiative taken by Rio’s government. The news regarding the approval given by the Planning Commission for revival of the Tuli Paper Mill could not have been better timed coming as it does in the backdrop of today’s celebration and more so as it fulfills one of the points in the CMP. 

Despite the nervous start and the numerous challenges it has had to confront with, the DAN government has now settled itself and looks set to complete the remaining two years in office, unless of course, Rio decides to seek a fresh mandate and call for early election. While this appears to be less likely now, the plunge would have to be taken at some ‘point of time’. 

As such, the time is running out for the DAN government in fulfilling the political side of its Common Minimum Program: that of bringing a solution to the Naga problem. On this score, the DAN government has failed miserably to bring about unity among the “underground factions” of the NSCN. For obvious reasons, the government’s approach to use the civil society and NGOs like Naga Hoho, churches, students’ organisations and human rights bodies to carry forward the message to the underground factions and strive to bring unity among them so that they speak with one voice has remained a complete non-starter. A mid-course correction is therefore absolutely vital at this juncture. Further, the DAN government would do well to reserve one of the two remaining years of its term to be declared as “Year of Peace and Reconciliation” to go with the high priority it had given on this issue when it first took the oath of office.