Words and Deeds

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/8/2019 12:32:08 PM IST

 As campaigning for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election reaches its height, the voters in Nagaland are caught in a bind over which way to vote on April 11 to elect the lone representative to the Lok Sabha. Of course, the byelection to the 26 Aonglenden assembly constituency is a prestige fight for the ruling NDPP /PDA as it won the seat in the 2018 assembly election. The opposition NPF is backing the Congress for the seat which the latter had won in 2009, lost the 2011 byelection but retained the seat back in 2013. In 2018 the seat was won by the former Congress legislator who stood as NDPP candidate. The seat fell vacant after the sitting MLA passed away and the ensuing byelection is going to be a straight contest between the PDA consensus nominee of the NDPP and the Congress. As for the issues, the contesting political parties have their manifestos which reflect the respective focus and priorities. It may well be added that manifestos can only be meaningful only if they are less rhetorical and more practical. While the NDPP manifesto dealt with local issues, the Congress on the other hand, largely followed the national party manifesto. What was sought to differentiate between the manifestos of the contending parties were the issues of Citizenship Amendment Bill(CAB) and ILP with Article 371(A). As a regional party, the NDPP was constrained not to go all out against the CAB in lieu of its alliance with the BJP at the Centre and state. Later, the NDPP shed its inhibition when its ruling coalition the PDA (a coalition of NDPP and BJP and post-poll partners NPP and JDU) decided to oppose the CAB which the NPF and Congress vehemently opposed much earlier. However, when the national BJP has vowed to implement CAB if it comes back to power, the regional parties under NEDA including Nagaland, have been put in a spot. What has also attracted much interest is the promise made in the Congress manifesto to review and rewrite the Armed Forces Special Powers Act 1958 which the BJP has unequivocally opposed. The two contending sides are coalitions –one a pre-poll(PDA) and the other an alliance of convenience(NPF and Congress). The other issue which resonates with the public in Nagaland as well as most north eastern states is over communalism versus secularism. However, if it was crucial then it does not explain how the BJP was able to win its highest tally of 12 seats in 2018 as against its most surprising win of 7 seats in 2003?. Despite being forced on the backfoot on many occasions, over the alleged anti-religious minority agenda of the BJP/RSS; the voters in Nagaland have given the party enough seats to seriously feel confident that it has come to stay. Whether this is because voters are convinced by the explanations given by state BJP leaders that the party is not against Christians, or whether it is all due to a dichotomy over the whole issue? What needs to be also reminded is that the issue of Article 371(A) could also come under scanner in future if it is not handled properly. This in the light of the fact, that BJP has not jettisoned its vow to remove Article 370 with regard to Jammu and Kashmir. However, when voting day comes, people will vote on how they feel on that day and not what was said.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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