By Oken Jeet Sandham
We have now four days to go to the crucial poll of the 12th Nagaland Assembly elections on February 23. The state is witnessing this assembly election at a time when the Center keeps talking that solution to the Naga political issue is not very far off. However, the Naga political issue seems to be having no major impact on the electorates this time. Perhaps, the people of the state could hardly be convinced to give their votes under the whims and fancies of the settlement of the Naga political issue. They seem to be more concerned for the development of the state.
The main fight is between the ruling NPF and the main Opposition Congress. There are other candidates of NCP, BJP, JD (U), RJD and UNDP, besides large number of Independent candidates, in the electoral fray. All the political parties keep talking to bring early settlement to the Naga political issue while the ruling NPF squarely blame the Congress-led UPA Government at the Center for delaying the settlement to the Naga political issue.
The main Opposition Congress, while promising to bring early settlement to the Naga political issue, rained charges of corruption against the ruling NPF leaders, their Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, etc. They also attacked the ruling NPF for neglecting the ENPO areas.
Veteran Congress leader and former Nagaland Chief Minister and ex-Governor of Maharashtra and Goa Dr SC Jamir, who did not contest this election, assured a separate Secretariat for the ENPO area if the Congress is voted to power. However, NPF chief Dr Shurhozelie, who also did not contest this time, termed it as “gimmick” only to confuse the people in the area.
In spite of all these charges and counter charges, claims and counter claims by the contesting political parties and their candidates, the reality is half of the present Ministers in the DAN Ministry along with many of their MLAs are not likely to be seen in the next Assembly. At the same time, some new faces in
the NPF are likely to emerge victorious this time.
In the Congress, one-third of the sitting MLAs who are fighting this election may bite the dust but their overall tally may be seen 30% increasing this time than last 2008 result but they will be short of majority.
Till the other day, NPF was doing fairly-slightly ahead of the main rival Congress. But the couple of incidents involving their two candidates including one high profile candidate have largely affected the party image and position as well. But the affect appears to be confining in the Mokokchung district only and its ripple effects in other districts are not seen at the moment. This has given the Congress the edge over others in the Mokokchung district.
In the final analysis, fluctuations on the positions of the candidates are taking place on hourly basis. We have 60 constituencies in the state and as writing this piece, there are 29 constituencies elsewhere in the State where candidates are fighting neck to neck and in these places, their fortunes are unpredictable. Whereas in districts like Dimapur, Kohima, Mokokchung and Wokha, things are almost clear which party is emerging where and how. But in places like Phek, Zunheboto, Mon, Longlen, Tuensang and Kiphire, where many candidates are seen fighting neck to neck and in fact, both the NPF and the Congress crucially depend on candidates of these areas for their journey to the formation of the next Government in the state.
In this election, record 39 Independents are fighting in 32 constituencies in the fray. Out of these 39 Independents, 9 Independents are fighting in 9 constituencies of ENPO areas. One-sixth of the total Independents may emerge and they will become very important factor in the event of formation of the Government either by the NPF or the Congress. But even in this situation, either of them (NPF or Congress) may still require the support of party like NCP which is having no pre-poll alliance either with the NPF or the Congress. The BJP and the JD (U) are already in pre-poll alliance with the NPF-led DAN.
Although the NCP has set up 15 candidates, one-fifth of the total candidates may emerge and they may ultimately become a “deciding factor” for the final formation of the Government in the state either by NPF or the Congress.
Getting support of one MLA matters especially during such a situation. It is all about number game in the journey of the Government formation.
The Bottom line:
We should not forget “Clean Election Campaign” of the NBCC. Although we hardly see any impact of this novel movement on the electorates or political parties or contesting candidates, but a beginning has started. It has now become a “history.”