Amit Shah endorses 20-40; but Naga CM Rio "may work" for Solution by Jan 26
Source: Nirendra Dev *

New Delhi/Dimapur, January 09 2023: If P V Narasimha Rao's famous dictum 'Not to take a decision is also a decision' is an ideological guide with some BJP guys including Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee what was/are stated 'halfheartedly' were often more important.

None seems could have convinced Home Minister Amit Shah to dump NDPP or it's leader Neiphiu Rio.

Has beleaguered Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio won the crucial and semi-final round? .

Did Home Minister Amit Shah still show trust in the incumbent leadership in Nagaland and wants the Chief Minister to deliver on both fronts -- elections and Solution? .

Only consolation for those working hard for last two years -- the civil society organisations and making impatient plea for an early Solution even with slogans and banners on Friday - seems an halfhearted reference to the phrase 'President's Rule' .

In his closed door meeting with 11 key leaders, Shah even negated all clamours and grievances about 20-40 formula which is largely seen as a 'life saver drug' for Rio personally.

"Well if elections are not allowed and people do not participate...what else; we can have President's Rule," he reportedly said but those present suggest it was like a passing remark and perhaps uttered more in a lighter vein.

But it could be important to read 'between the words' .

"We will stick to the 20-40 formula.

It is being practical.

Time is not yet ripe for us to get a BJP chief minister in Nagaland," Shah reportedly said at the meeting.

One participant at the Friday meeting said the NNPG is ready to sign the peace pact and resolve the issue.

At this probably there was a query -- "Don't you think, the Govt of India has to assess which group has more arms?" .

This is understandably the version of NDPP leadership.

So, either Govt of India is buying this line, or want the state government to 'deliver' .

But for any Solution to the Naga problem, Shah was firm that either of the contentious demands the Flag or the separate Naga constitution cannot be accepted ever.

It is worth mentioning that the apex NPAC could possibly gauge things from before and has even stated in a memorandum addressed to Home Minister Shah on that if the negotiations happening since 1997 are not brought to its logical conclusion, it will be perhaps better to call the Naga talks a "fiasco" as the "indecision does not benefit any party" .

Of course, like any incumbent government even the Narendra Modi-led dispensation will have to ensure that the elections in each state in the country are held on time.

Thus even Shah explained -- almost repeat of what Indrajit Gupta ( communist Home Minister in 1998) had said - "As India's ruling party and the government in office we have to ensure conducting of elections" .

Of course the final taste of the pudding or even any Gujarati or Naga delicacy lies in its eating.

If the Election Commission by itself says, situation is not conducive for polls, then automatically President's Rule will come.

The official argument can be that conducting polls in the job of the election panel and governments both in the centre and in the state(s) can only provide officials and ensure safety and security of candidates, election workers and voters by and large.

The second but big 'if' still remains - as they say - between lip and the cup -- may be Shah during his meeting has given a time-specific directive to Chief Minister Rio to deliver on Solution 'on time' .

This could mean that even by January 26th - the Republic Day or even January 15 - all stakeholders can be brought together to sign the final peace pact.

Ironically, in 1998, the NSCN-IM was against the polls.

In 2023, what's its stance is not known publicly.

But it is whispered that the group has "nexus" with state politicians in 'good positions' and thus they are not against election per se and it wants their men to be in power.

The NNPG led by N Kitovi Zhimomi on the other hand is fiercely against the elections.

The NNPG had earlier more than once demanded resignation of the regime led by Rio to facilitate an early signing of a peace pact.

It has already signed the preliminary Agreed Position in 2017 when R N Ravi was the state Governor and negotiator.

It is well known that political lobbying and some pressure tactics ultimately led to transfer of Ravi as the Governor of Tamil Nadu.

"There are leaders who would like to continue with the status quo so that undeterred exploitation of Nagaland and its people could continue.

For them 'no solution is solution' so that they could continue to loot the State and its people," wrote former CM and ex-Gujarat Governor S C Jamir in an article.

There are two other scenarios.

Post-polls NDPP could merge with the BJP and there will be reasons more than one to do so.

Secondly, Rituraj Sinha's exercise on Jan 5th to meet NDPP stalwarts and sitting MLAs was not for a winter picnic session.

* The sender of this news can be contacted at nirendev1(AT)gmail(DOT)com .

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