Democracy thrives when people have an opportunity to vote freely: Kohli

Morung Express News
Dimapur | April 12

Nalin Kohli, the BJP National Spokesperson said that democracy thrives and is strongest “when the people have an opportunity to vote freely and select whoever they want.” Kohli, who is the BJP’s Nagaland incharge, met with party workers on April 12 in Dimapur, overseeing preparations for the NDA rally at the Agri Expo, 4th Mile, on April 13, which will be addressed by the BJP’s National President, JP Nadda. 

His comment came in response to a query on the Nagaland Baptist Church Council’s (NBCC) Clean Election Movement recently issuing a clarion call to the voters of Nagaland to “vote consciously” as the state goes to poll on April 19 to elect its Member to the 18th Lok Sabha. Terming the present as “unprecedented times,” it held that the LS Polls 2024 is more an “ideological clash for the survival of democracy in India” than an electoral battle. 

Kohli, while cautious of making no direct mention of the NBCC, said, “India is the world’s largest democracy with 970 million registered voters, 1 million polling stations and it is the testimony of the will of the people of India, across all states, that they can vote for any candidate they want and I think that is the strongest example of democracy.” According to him, in a functional democracy, it is well within the Constitution, if anyone has a different point of view.

The BJP and the PDA coalition was in for some serious brickbats, especially from the Indian National Congress in the aftermath of the Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister, Y Patton’s controversial “joke” encouraging electoral malpractice at an election rally in Wokha. Kohli termed it to be a case of humour being taken seriously, adding, “Everyone has a different style of speaking, Patton spoke and made a joke.” 

In contrast to the BJP taking the campaign directly to the people, he said that the Congress’ poll campaigns have been less among the voters and more through press conferences. 

In another meeting, the BJP legislators huddled at its state unit President’s residence. Coming out of the meeting venue, Deputy CM, Y Patton was asked on the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation putting the blame on the state government for Delhi delaying the establishment of the proposed Frontier Nagaland Territory and thereby, boycotting the Lok Sabha elections. “They cannot blame us. We are doing our best,” was his reply. 

MLA and Advisor for Tribal Affairs and Election, H Tovihoto Ayemi’s comment on the NBCC’s CEM statement was, “It is their view,” only to add, “I don’t’ know why these things happen during elections.”

On Jairam Ramesh, the General Secretary in charge of Communications, All India Congress Committee (AICC), ridiculing the NDPP as a BJP “washing machine,” Ayemi said that the BJP need not counter to every “small statement” the opposition makes. He said that the Congress is non-existent in Nagaland.