Nagaland: When will TR Zeliang expand his Ministry ?

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By Oken Jeet Sandham

When the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directive to the two NPF groups on March 27 to hold their “General Convention” with their active members to end their crisis, things have taken place in that direction as both the groups have issued necessary notices for the same. The directive of the ECI has been seen some sort of “peacemaking mission.” It has not given any ruling on who is right or who is wrong. In other words, the ECI directive has clearly indicated that the issue is “internal of the NPF.”

The most interesting part is the ECI directive in its para 10 says, “No record has been placed, nor even vaguely averred, by either of the two groups before the Commission showing that the remedy provided in the Party constitution for determining the dispute out of the present split has been resorted to, exhausted or even attempted. When there is a specific and express remedy provided in the Party constitution itself which is binding on all members of the party, to deal with any specific issue concerning the party, such remedy should be exhausted first before seeking a decision from the Commission. The Commission is thus of the considered view that it would be premature for the Commission to pass orders on the present question of the split at this stage.”
The ECI has directed both NPF groups to follow Article XIV of the NPF Constitution for “getting the dispute resolved with the decision of the Active Members of the party as per the procedure laid down therein.” And the outcome of the meeting being conducted as per Article XIV of the Party Constitution should be submitted to the ECI.

More interestingly, the ECI in its directive in Para 11 says: “The Commission hopes and expects that the internal dispute in the party will be settled amicably within the framework of the Party constitution which would pave way for its harmonious function, not only in its own interest but also in the interest of the State of Nagaland where it is ruling party.”
After carefully observing the aforementioned points of the ECI, its role is a “peacemaking mission” something like “conflict resolution.” Never mind, the people of the northeast has been living in the midst of “all types social and political conflicts due to unresolved political conflicts nearly 70 years.” Nearly 90% of the population in the whole of the northeast were born after India gets her Independence and they have been hearing only “conflicts” and many intellectuals, educationists, political pundits usually love talking about “political conflicts” of the region with New Delhi. Ironically, it goes on without giving any remedies till now.

There are pseudo-intellectuals in our society all along talking with beautifully orchestrated “conflict resolution theories” with blank input of solution. So when the ECI plays more of a “peacemaking” role for resolving the conflict of the NPF groups by wisely referring to the party’s Constitution, it works.
Yet, politics is, no doubt, an art of compromise as often said, “There is no permanent friend or foe in politics.” After all, it is all politics and it surprises none.
However, the question is – “Why did Chief Minister TR Zeliang move for “Confidence Motion” of his government when the “NPF” had “internal crisis?” What happened to his government when 22 NPF dissident MLAs led by G Kaito Aye challenged his leadership?
But Kaito had his own political maneuver by supporting the “Confidence Motion.” Corroborating their move, the veteran lawmaker justified that they would not go against “our DAN government” as their move was purely against the leadership of TR.

The Opposition Congress, which played a very crucial role in rescuing the beleaguered TR from the unprecedented political web, would have hit the jackpot, had the BJP MLAs remained neutral during the “Confidence Motion.” But the BJP High Command played another political maneuver by pulling the rug at an unpredicted time. This is also “politics,” anyway.
Nevertheless, the most interesting part is not the ECI’s directive but Chief Minister TR Zeliang’s fumbling on the expansion of his Ministry. It has been three and half months since 22 dissident NPF MLAs openly revolted against his leadership that he has been running the DAN government without filling up the four Cabinet Ministerial Posts which remained vacant after G Kaito Aye, Kuzholuzo (Azo) Nienu, Noke Wangnao and Dr Benjongliba Aier were dropped. Expectations are running high that he will exercise expansion of his Ministry, at least, after March 27 ECI directives. But things remain the same if not complicated.

But the question is – How long will TR continue his government without expanding his Ministry? Is there any logic for him to remain in the same fashion? If he further delays expansion of his Ministry, then the people of Nagaland will be made to believe something otherwise on him. If he continues with the current mode with no efforts to expand and restructure the Ministry, he will only push the state backward. The world is moving so fast and we seem to be more complacent even after fully knowing of the continuous deficiencies in the governing. The present trend should not continue further as it will cause irreparable loss to the people of Nagaland in the long run.

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