It takes sheer courage, and also extenuating circumstances, for a political party to publicly admit that it is headed for political oblivion. And the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee must be appreciated by one and all regardless of political affiliations for admitting in the local media this morning that is has now been reduced to a mere “idea”. Going by the political misfortunes of the Congress party in the recent past it should not come as a surprise to anybody that in the near future this “idea” of a political party would become a faint memory with the few remnants of the party functionaries reminiscing and basking in its glorious days when it damaged the whole State without any qualms.
The Congress party knows best how it is to have communal or secular masters in Delhi since its High Command is based there and might like to elaborate more succinctly how the State leaders go to Delhi, wait for several days for an appointment with the High Command to come through for weeks at a stretch, and upon being privileged with a few minutes’ interview, genuflect like the most faithful party workers! Indeed, the Congress leaders might like to show Nagas how they have learned to bow before its High Command at Delhi because after all these decades they must have mastered the art of capitulating in style. As far as the NPF party and NPF-led DAN Government, the people are its High Command and the Party and the Government is answerable to the people.
Going by the logic put forth by the Congress party that the Party President became the Chief Minister by “default”, it would appear that the Congress party has been made redundant in today’s context by “their fault” and by no fault of anyone else when all its legislators and senior leaders parted ways with it leaving a few rejects to man the organization. These rejects could not be exported since no political party seems to have any requirement or inclination to “import” them. They are reminiscent of apparel stores which sell products of renowned brands at a very cheap rate because of the inherent manufacturing defects, and they find few or no takers!
If Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu has now become the Chief Minister it is because of Constitutional provisions and Parliamentary procedures, and not through backdoor or front door, as alleged by the Congress party. No one ever considered Manmohan Singh becoming the Union Finance Minister of the Country in 1991 through backdoor when he had to be hurriedly elected from Assam as a Rajya Sabha member, and that too, when he did not have a residence in Assam for several months after being elected from the State, and the legal lacuna furtively rectified without raising any flutter in the political arena. Or consider the case of former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao becoming the Prime Minister without being a member of either House of Parliament and had to contest in a by-election Nandyal constituency in Andhra Pradesh. Or is it that the NPCC considers the first Congress Government headed by someone outside the Nehru-Gandhi family in the country as a “backdoor” Government all these decades? But then, the Congress party seems to have selective amnesia when it comes to its own history, or the heinous acts committed during its regimes such as the Anti-Sikh Riots of 1984, where its leaders acted more fanatical than communal elements it avers to, or the darkest era the nation went through during the Emergency declared by the Congress Government at the Centre in 1975.
As for the allegation that Dr Shurhozelie “ditched” his party in 1999 to contest the parliamentary elections, this clearly shows the selective amnesia of the Congress party. Human memory is short, it is said, but not as short as to forget the treachery on the Naga people by the Congress party which did not heed the call of the people to solve the Naga political problem and not to hold or participate general elections in 1998, which was obeyed by all other political parties in Nagaland except the Congress which went ahead to file nomination papers in most of the Constituencies and were declared uncontested. The Congress party, with the support of Independents formed that Government with 59 on the Treasury Bench with only one Independent as the sole Opposition member. As a result of not participating in the 1998 elections for the sake of the Naga peace process, the Election Commission of India “froze” the party symbol of the NPF (then NPC). And to salvage the regional party and regain its party symbol, Dr Shurhozelie made the supreme sacrifice of contesting as an Independent candidate against the ruling Congress Candidate knowing very well that the chances of winning were very slim. For records, Dr Shurhozelie secured 1, 62, 521 votes and could redeem the party symbol.
The treachery perpetrated by the Congress party on the Naga people in 1998 remains fresh in the minds of the Naga people. If it had paid heed to the clarion call of the Naga people then, the Naga political problem might have been given more importance by the Government of India earlier, and perhaps, the Congress party might not have been pushed to the political oblivion it is in now, especially here in Nagaland.
Issued by Media Cell,
Chief Minister’s Office, Nagaland