Monday, August 8, 2022

Too many cooks for solution

Spl. Correspondent

With Government of India renewing its efforts to resolve the vexed Naga political issue, highly placed sources confided to this Correspondent that there were impediments which have placed “hurdles” against arriving at an early solution.
These sources disclosed that the government of India has belatedly realised that years of going through the motion of consultations and negotiations without any tangible prospect for solution, was a lose-lose situation for both the Centre and the Naga people.
Having realised this, the union home ministry has refused to be made as the eventual scapegoat and blamed for delay in solution by allowing the Nagaland government to have an extended free run as facilitator.
Sources disclosed that the home ministry held the view, that the series of consultative meetings convened by the state government over the years, with various Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) had little relevance for “early political solution.”
The sources said the Centre has noted that the Nagaland government especially all legislators’ fora and the latest being Core Committee on Naga Political Issue (CCoNPI) have not achieved any breakthrough in having the NSCN(I-M) on board.
The sources said, other than repeating and resolving on the same resolutions the government committees have consistently used the self-acclaimed role of “facilitator” as a red herring.
Nagaland BJP leaders – minister H&TE Temjen Imna Along and deputy chief minister Y. Patton– have dared to call a spade a spade in revealing the stand of the Centre over demands for flag and constitution.
The BJP leaders have asked the state government both within the assembly and outside, to tell the truth to Nagas about what has been stalling solution as the UDA government’s core committee continues to parrot the appeal on all Naga groups to “resume peace talks” and not to set pre-conditions.
The buzz around the corridors of North Block is that the Ministry of Home Affairs is no longer interested to listen to the same tune over and over again. This was evident in the recent meetings held between union home minister Amit Shah and official delegation from Nagaland led by chief minister Neiphiu Rio, UDA chairman T.R. Zeliang; deputy chief minister Y. Patton and UDA co-chairman Kuzholuzo (Azo) Neinu.
In the meetings, sources said union home minister Amit Shah made no mention of the Naga political issue but raised developmental issues with the Nagaland delegation.
Adding to the state government’s discomfiture, the union home ministry has roped in Assam BJP chief minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma and convenor of BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), to act as liaison between the Centre and the state.
Some legislators from Nagaland told this Correspondent, that involvement of Himanta with the Naga issue appeared to be another signal that the Centre is sending to Rio and Co that its (BJP) North East trouble shooter will be around.
Meanwhile, Centre’s representative for Naga political talks, AK Mishra recently held separate meetings with various Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh-based civil society organizations in Imphal and Guwahati.
During his visit to Imphal last month, Mishra visited the Hill areas and also met various civil society organizations besides meeting Manipur governor and chief minister.
These hold significance as Mishra believes that holding direct consultations with the stakeholders would give the Centre a clear picture of the ground realities.
In Guwahati, Mishra held separate meetings with leaders of Tirap Changlang Longding People’s Forum (TCLPF) and Naga Council of Upper Assam (NCUA).
Though details of the meeting were not made known, it was learnt that Mishra had reportedly highlighted the status of the Naga political talks. Mishra also conveyed to the Naga CSOs that all demands/grievances raised by them would be addressed.
Efforts for solution to the Naga political issue will depend on the final call made by the Centre in response to the voice of the Naga people. On likely period, sources said it could be after election of the next president of India after July 2022 or after a regular and full-time governor of Nagaland is appointed.
Sources said that if the Naga issue is not resolved before the 2023 Assembly polls, the elected representatives– who have time and again promised to resign to pave way for any settlement, will refuse to resign once elected and which could prove to be another hurdle.
On the other hand, by end of 2023, the Central leadership would be more focused on the 2024 General elections (Lok Sabha).
As reported, Centre has said on numerous occasions that the ball is in the court of the NPGs to agree on one solution acceptable to all, since there cannot be two solutions for one issue.


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