“Before giving them mandate it is now time for the people of Nagaland to reflect and rethink about the bluff that has been played upon them by NDPP-BJP”, says Congress leader Jairam Ramesh.
As campaigning for Assembly elections picks up pace in Nagaland, the Congress has slammed the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine for making “empty promises” to the people of the state. The Congress stated that the assurances given by the BJP to the people of Eastern Nagaland and on the Naga political solution are not reflected in the BJP-NDPP poll agenda.
Briefing the media in Kohima, Rajya Sabha MP and Congress general secretary in charge of communication Jairam Ramesh said, “The assurance to Naga People is not solitary and the manner in which this issue is being tackled is the characteristic trait of the BJP- Empty Promises else why would it not find a place in their ‘Vision Document’. The ENPO delegation lived its words by relaxing the resolution while Home Minister’s promised January visit to discuss with stakeholders never happened and now he will visit to seek your vote”.
ENPO and Frontier Nagaland
He reminded that right ahead of the election announcement until recently, “vote boycott calls” were heard from Eastern Nagaland, led by an organization that spearheaded the movement for a separate state comprising six districts- Mon, Kiphire, Longleng, Tuensang, Shamator and Noklak of the eastern area (45% of Nagaland’s Population).
On December 7, 2022, an Eastern Naga People’s Organisation (ENPO) delegation accompanied by BJP’s Mahila Morcha President and Rajya Sabha Member from Nagaland S Phangnon Konyak met with the Home Minister Amit Shah and was assured a visit to the state by the latter in the month of January.
The ENPO statement mentioned that Shah highlighted a clear road map for an amicable, legislative and Sustainable solution for Eastern Nagaland, which will include consultation with the people of the region and state government.
On February 4, 2023, ENPO relaxed the August 26, August 2022 Resolution with immediate effect, following the request of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to review the resolution and the subsequent assurance given by the Home Minister to ENPO officials on February 2, 2023 that a solution as mutually agreed will be reached upon following the due process and will be reached upon after completion of the election process.
“JP Nadda inaugurated a half cooked but elaborate document that only makes a mention of few perks for the eastern region, most of which have already been proposed at length in our manifesto two weeks ago”, he said. “We are committed to providing the eastern region of Nagaland with its own mini secretariat, directorate of schools, relocating DUDA to Tuensang and to initiate dialogue between GoI and Govt. of Myanmar if we are entrusted with the faith of people of Nagaland”, Jairam Ramesh added.
Even though the ENPO delegation has come forward to reconsider its resolution in the larger interest of the democracy, what has kept the Government, the Home Minister to walk the talk, asked the Congress general secretary.
Naga Political Solution
“Paradoxically, Naga Political issue is absolutely missing from the 41-page long BJP Manifesto and that makes the BJP’s intention very clear”, said Jairam Ramesh. He pointed out that BJP is seeking to return to power for the second time in a row without accountability and without even uttering a word on Naga Political Solution in its manifesto.
What response would the BJP give, if asked about the series of “missed deadlines, failed commitments in terms of the resolution of Naga Political Solution in spite of PM Modi’s hollow talks here and there yet having to extend AFSPA imposition on state”, asked Jairam Ramesh.
He also pointed out that BJP’s election bid is redundant, based on Development in the state of Nagaland. Promises of Building all weather roads, railway network by 2024, Self-employment opportunities for youth, a slew of welfare schemes, promises for investment in cultural research. These do not mean a thing to an average Nagaland citizen who is deprived of even piped water supply, or smooth power supply, said the Congress leader.
He stated that the talk of constructing Trans-Naga Highway “rings hollow for disaster after disaster that has struck their various highway projects due to short sightedness and lack of vision of this government”. While there is eerie silence on Naga Political Solution in the BJP manifesto, one does hear hollow ring Freebie promises therein, like free scooty for meritorious college girls that was previously promised in Manipur, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh but in vain- in spite of constant warnings by the EC and the Supreme Court of India, stated the Congress leader.
He also reminded that Congress is the one that ever initiated the solution to Naga Political Issue. “Yet again one of the top-most promises in our manifesto is to resolve the Naga Political Issue if voted to power. Before seeking the mandate, the BJP-NDPP coalition government must come clean on their intentions for the people of Nagaland. Before giving them mandate it is now time for the people of Nagaland to reflect and rethink about the bluff that has been played upon them by NDPP-BJP”, said Jairam Ramesh.