Cong dilemma

With the Nagaland Congress party set to release its first list of candidates for election tickets, the dilemma that faces the party in the run up to Assembly Election is very much real. Whatever decision it takes on the matter will no doubt impact the party in the coming polls slated for March 5. In fact in the first sign of revolt against the party high command, the decision to accommodate former DAN MLAs into the party fold, and the possibility of many of them getting the nod for poll tickets ahead of Congress loyalist, has led to the entire set up of the Congress Alongtaki Assembly Constituency dissolving and joining the Nagaland Peoples Front. Precisely the issue that many loyal Congressmen are raising is that how can the party high command both in the State and in Delhi accommodate the new entrants or the former Congress leaders who had joined other political parties and just on the eve of election, sensing a ‘Congress wave’, jump into the fray. 

For the loyalists and well wishers of the party, the recent political developments including the admittance of former DAN MLAs into the party is nothing about the Congress principle or ideology but sheer opportunism for power and pelf. Also the ploy to stake claim to form an alternative government was ill timed and quite unnecessary with only a few weeks to go for elections. The Congress may have lost some of the grounds it had gained over the last few years of the DAN regime. After all, public perception could be that the Congress rather than being an effective Opposition was seen as in such a hurry to be in government. The question is whether the Congress could have waited to oust the government through the democratic means of elections rather than been seen as power hungry and resorting to political machination. 

Whatever damage, small of big, done to the party’s image, it is advised that the decision makers within the Congress should properly contemplate the matter at hand before giving tickets to those who have only recently joined the party. The case of Alongtaki AC where a leader who was only very recently a BJP MLA and is being favoured for ticket, amounts to gross injustice and will do more harm to the party’s poll prospects. Any decision taken cannot be done solely on the criterion of ‘win ability’ alone but must necessarily incorporate other equally important factors. 

The feedback from local units and grass root Congress workers cannot be merely ignored but requires due consideration. Likewise, past performance of a leader at the hustings is no guarantee that he or she will win. Today’s voters are well informed and cannot be taken for granted anymore by political parties. One can even argue that the electorate would want to see change of leaders. Voting can also be factored in by the work done by the MLAs or former MLAs in their respective constituency and the voting public may punish non performers or even award newcomers. The criterion of loyalty to the party and commitment to the principles and ideology of the Congress should also be taken into serious consideration while making any decision. 

In fact it is even suggested that some of the new entrants or former Congressmen returning to the party fold should be in fact willing to serve the party organization. Some of them, especially the seniors can be accommodated into the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee or other related party work as functionaries without necessarily having to contest elections. This way they can better serve the party if at all their commitment to the Congress is not about power. For the nineteen odd former DAN MLAs, the public of Nagaland will be watching their true intention of whether they have come to serve the party or their individual political interest. This applies equally to the other politicians from non-Congress parties.