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Uneasy calm

24 Feb. 2017 11:55 PM IST

There are several points that find expression among the ‘political observers’ with regard to the present political affairs which had seen at least three serious political crisis -2014,2015 and 2017-which were about tussle for leadership of the ruling NPF. The din and dust of the recent public upheaval against the NPF-led DAN government over the issue of perceived threat posed on Article 371A by the government’s questionable and hasty decision to conduct elections to the Urban Local Bodies (ULB) with 33% women reservation appears to have subsided though not resolved. Two youths were killed and many injured on January 31; several buildings housing over two dozen offices were burned down and followed by nearly 20 days of shutdown of government offices and ban on movement of government registered vehicles. These were the losses which were precipitated by the worsening situation when the government rejected every public demand including the chief minister and others to step down by owning moral responsibility for whatever had happened. Side by side along with the public unrest and bandhs, political machinations also resurged for leadership change. It may be noted that the ruling NPF has been hounded by leadership crisis even in the past and in currency of the present legislative assembly, there has been three serious dissidence within the ruling NPF. In 2014 and 2015 the then chief minister T.R. Zeliang managed to come out victorious perhaps because he may have been underestimated. After the previous incumbent resigned as chief minister and amid public frustrated over the long spell of bandh; the stage was set for another politician to take over as chief minister. However in the third ‘political battle’ Zeliang had to vacate the chair and in the face of many claimants but who, individually, could not muster enough numbers; the mantle eventually fell on octogenarian and veteran regionalist Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsü. It may be pointed out that as per the constitution, Dr. Shürhozelie will have to become a member of the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly in order to continue beyond the six-month period as chief minister. It was after this swearing-in that a statement purportedly made by Dr Shürhozelie, managed to attract much attention. It was claimed that Dr. Shürhozelie said he had taken over temporarily and later hand over reins. It is not known if this was what was said but it certainly set the speculations afire. Now, if it is true, then the question is when would Dr. Shürhozelie hand over reins of power? The other is, whether the entire episode was only to deflect criticism and anger of the public and get over them with a temporary arrangement? By the look of it, the old wine in new bottle re-packaging is a very strategic and clever move. However such deft manoeuvre may not be wholly acceptable but there is a general tiredness among public who are living under a cloud of frustration at the way things are going. Like any illness, the symptoms are usually more visible than the cause itself. Perhaps that is why even today society is still grappling with the ailments of the past that were brushed under the carpet on whatever pretexts or pretence that today, these have developed into a potential recipe for continuing social unrest.

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