Kohima: Even as the topic on the Naga political issue dominated the first day of the eighth session of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA), the proposal to form an opposition-less government by the Naga People’s Front (NPF) remained undecided as it evoked mixed reactions from members of the Legislative Assembly.
During a discussion on the matter of public importance about the Naga political issue, several legislators from the opposition bench including the leader of opposition TR Zeliang, senior legislators Imkong Imchen and Yitachu, proposed for the formation of an opposition-less government to facilitate the peace talks.
“I would like to state that we have not only come together under the banner of Parliamentary Committee on Naga Political Issue but are also willing to put aside our political differences and endorse an Opposition-less Government in the interest of the Naga People and its political struggle. We the elected representative should not shy away from spelling out the facts of the matter and strive with conviction to help unite the various Naga Political Groups,” Zeliang said.
The NPF’s decision to join the ruling government was recently announced by the party. Despite Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio-led NDPP party’s positive reaction, the party is yet to take a final decision on forming an opposition-less government as it is yet to receive a green signal from its alliance partner—the BJP.
Amid the political anxiousness, BJP legislator Kashiho Sangtam, who also participated in the debate, proposed for the unity of the Naga negotiating groups before the formation of an opposition-less government.
According to Sangtam, an opposition-less government in the past had also facilitated the Naga peace talks, however, the issue remains unresolved. As all members of the state Assembly extended its full support on the Naga political issue, he opined that before coming to the “final settlement of this opposition-less government”, the parliamentary committee or the core committee should approach the Naga negotiating groups to arrive at a “meeting point.”
As the talks of the two Naga negotiating groups—NSCN-IM and NNPGs—with the government of India (GoI) are going in “two parallel ways”, he proposed that committees should convince both parties to leave aside their past, present and future differences.
“Before forming the opposition-less government, why don’t we approach the political groups to unite themselves and bring a lasting solution,” he proposed, with the hope that the aspirations of the Nagas be fulfilled.
However, NPF legislators remained firm on their proposal for an opposition-less government. “While there are many who are sceptical of the NPF Party intentions, we have time and again made it amply clear that we do not have any hidden agenda nor are we doing so out of desperation to be in the treasury bench: the only reason and purpose are to help facilitate the Naga Political Issue,” Zeliang said.
He said that the concept of an Opposition-less Government should not be for cheap political gains but to strengthen the progress of the negotiations and also to fulfil the aspirations of the Naga People.
Further, Zeliang said that until all formalities for an opposition-less government are complete, the NPF members will continue to maintain a status-quo with him as the Leader of Opposition. He said that if the elected members cannot be united, it is a “farfetched idea to ask the Naga Political Groups to come together.”
Hoping that the BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre would “stand true” to the slogan “election for solution” during the state election, he added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have shown great political will-power to resolve the Naga Issue, unlike their predecessors.
While endorsing the same, MLA Yitachu, said that for an opposition party to join the government to form an opposition-less government is a “cowardice act”. However, it is not “bothered” as the party wishes to extend its “full support” to the leader of the house and give a “push” towards the fulfilment of “many political manifestos.”
He said that the unity of all 60 legislators will “create an impact” and give a much stronger force in facilitating the Naga political issue.
Meanwhile, chief minister Neiphiu Rio expressed being “extremely happy” about the NPF’s resolution to have an opposition-less government. While the NDPP office bearers and legislators passed a resolution appreciating and welcoming the NPF’s proposal, he said that the matter needs further consultation with its ally—BJP.
In this regard, he informed that “discussion is on” as he hoped that “good sense will prevail.”
Meanwhile, the house unanimously adopted the five-point resolution endorsed by the Core Committee of the Parliamentary Committee. The details of the resolutions adopted are:
- “The House appeals to the negotiating Parties of the Indo-Naga Political dialogue to resume the Peace Talks with a positive approach and mutual respect by setting aside pre-conditions, in deference to the Naga people’s cry for long term peace, and resolve the contentious issues of the competencies at the earliest.
- The House appeals to all Naga Political Groups to make serious efforts towards unity and reconciliation. The constant antagonism against each other especially in public space and the media is sending out a wrong message to the masses because we are all pursuing the same aspiration of peace and political solution. Taking the positive example set by the elected Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, who have risen above Party affiliations to unite for the Naga Political Issue, the Naga Political Groups should make concerted efforts, and listen to the voice of the people for unity and oneness.
- The House, while appreciating the constant role and contributions of the Churches, Civil Societies and the NGOs towards facilitating peace and strengthening the peace process, appeals to the Civil Societies, mass-based Organizations and the Tribal Hohos to make renewed efforts towards creating a conducive atmosphere for the early realization of a political solution by pursuing unity, reconciliation and oneness.
- All Members of this House have come together under the same banner in line with the election manifestos of all Political Parties committing ourselves to the people that all the elected Members are prepared to make any sacrifices for an inclusive, honourable and acceptable solution.
- The House, therefore, appeals to the Naga political negotiating groups to come together to hammer out their differences, and give the people One Solution and One Agreement.”
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