Make it or Break it

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By Heigrujam NabashyamPolitics of a nation, we know, is about the game of power; and the prize is the power of the State : the government.Every political party in a country is in the game. But, finally it is the one that wins the elections wins the prize or in other words the party is mandated to rule or – putting euphemistically, govern.
Likewise, international politics is also about power – the power to influence or control, if possible, over your neighbor or other countries. Every powerful countries would explore and use every possible means : diplomacy, aid, subtle force or anything that crops up in a situation.
Now, coming to our part of the world, last month there was much confusion and hullabaloo. It was about the occasion to officially launch the Naga People’s Front – NPF’s Manipur unit by the Chief Minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio at Senapati. Not surprisingly the brouhaha had touched the sensitive nerves of many people especially Mr. O. Ibobi Singh and his men; at least that was what the local media had reported.
The 48-hours countdown to the launch – the Chief Minister, O. Ibobi Singh had activated the alarm; called his men for a series of meetings; had also presided over an All Party Meet of Manipur to reassure himself that he was on the right track in his mission to save Manipur from the onslaught of our neighbor.
Politics in a democracy – and in our present context too – is best served by diplomacy, statesmanship and most importantly, an unfailing understanding of the push and pull of the different sections, and interests across the political aspectrum.It is about finding ways out of tough situations. It is about knowing your limitations and merits of your adversary as well; and working out for possibilities and alternatives. And it is about not forgetting that your adversary knows you and your intentions too and the moment you forget this point, you lose the game.
Now, the NPF has extended its base into Manipur with all the O. Ibobi-given attention and had pronounced solemnly its declared objective at Senapati – not “a hidden agenda”, as O. Ibobi had naively alleged – “to bring the Naga inhabited areas under a single administrative unit”.
Mr. Rio and his team is playing a smart game that reeks of national and international politics as well. They are the party in power in Nagaland and have already proved their worth by defeating the gigantic Congress party in its own game. However it may not be very difficult to fathom out how Mr. Rio plays; no! not the clichéd view of Muivah and company helping or being hand in glove with them, but how he manage to nurture and pump up their pride and spirit despite different forces – including SC Jamir and company – working against him.
The fact of the matter is Mr. O. Ibobi Singh and his men are no match for Rio and team, and had miserably failed to understand the ground situation. The craft and diplomacy that NPF employs is beyond the grasp of Ibobi and company. Sadly, the Chief Minister had made not only himself, but the Manipur government a loughing stock, not to mention the ‘All Political Party’, before the world. The gallant Manpur police personnels had to come back totally confused and dispirited. One doubt, if any chief minister with a little self-respect would ever have the nerve to continue to occupy the seat after making the stupidest blunder entailing serious socio-political ramifications. However, Mr. Ibobi seems to be oblivious of the damage he had caused, and yet he is confident that no one can question his leadership.
However, it was very amusing to find O. Ibobi Singh addressing the media sheepishly after Mr. Rio made a walkover causing public disquite, claiming that he was a good human being with a kind heart and a great mind. Honestly, it was unfortunate to find Mr. O. Ibobi not to understand that he was the Chief Minister of Manipur – not a kind Mahatma, who could forgo his share of pleasure and riches for someone he loved so dearly.
What anyone would have expected from the CM was he would not be alarmed nor excited and treated the matter as a law and order condition. Or if he had believed that he could not let that go because that was an immediate threat to Manipur; then he could have well countered in politically with foresight and imagination. To begin with he could have taken the NPF to task for cloning the NSCN (IM) and tear apart the very idea and theory of Nagalim for trying to disturb the region –  not only Manipur, before the whole world, and cut it down to size, etc. The military strategy adopted by Mr. O. Ibobi to counter the move of Rio had only enhanced the public image of the NPF. Mr. Rio’s move involves a high degree of realpolitik which can only be checked by sensible political strategy – not by military or jingoistic strategy. This should have been understood by Mr. Ibobi who has the longest-unbroken-running experience of ruling Manipur since the last decade, better than anyone.
We have also seen on many occasions that petition, dharnas, rallies, etc. cannot make Mr. O. Ibobi Singh listen. Discussions, debates, seminars are also rendered meaningless in the face of the arrogance of the government. And for this funny situation we have only ourselves to blame.
The successful launch of Nagalim by Neiphiu Riio onto the political arena from the realm of Muivah and company is an important milestone in our journey towards a peaceful solution. And from now on, the game may have to be playing on the hard turf of politics. More than emotions and sentiments questions of realpolitik, diplomacy and statesmanship could be playing more crucial roles, like never before.
Like any game, we need good players to win. Surely we need to understand the unfolding political situations and play the game well. Maybe God has given us this opportunity to prove that we have a history of two millennium.
But finally, it is the people who would elect their players and we believe that the people, who love this ancient land any pay homage to Khongjom and Kekrupaat, will rise to this occasion, because we know that we do not have all the time – verily no confusion, no illusions.

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