Consensus Needed for By-Election

In a welcome development, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has hinted that a consensus could be arrived at for the coming by-election to the 26 Aonglenden Assembly Constituency under Mokokchung district which had fallen vacant following the demise of the sitting Congress MLA Nungshizenba Longkumer in November 2010. While the CM’s comment to the local media, on the sideline of a road flag off programme, did not specify as such, however he did mention about the hope for a consensus candidate from the ‘constituency’. The CM did not say consensus candidate from the NPF party but used the term constituency. All this will indicate that both the ruling NPF and the Opposition Congress could be trying to avoid a costly and unwanted election at this juncture. For both the NPF and Congress, it makes sense to instead arrive at a consensus candidate. The CM has sort of offered an olive branch to the opposition. It will be in the overall interest of the State and its people to avoid an election at this present juncture and therefore the Congress should decide along those lines. And since the outcome of this particular by-election is not going to have any bearing on the political numbers game, as the ruling NPF is comfortably placed for the remainder of the current term. While fighting peaceful democratic election is the right thing to do, the present situation is ripe for consensual politics. There is no need for anyone to clamour for power at this juncture when there is a process of reconciliation in place and the stability of the present government is assured. Also everyone concerned, right from the political parties to the candidates, can save a lot of money by avoiding an election.
It seems to be that everyone wants to avoid a direct contest at this juncture. But there are number of claimants for party tickets on either side. Some of them are reportedly not willing to give up their claim to contest thereby going against the present mood and sentiment of the public to avoid an election. The problem with the present election system, which we Nagas have mastered the art quite well is the use of money. The public are being spoiled because of this. Majority of Naga public today expect money from our politician and not their service. This is our collective failure. The village elders coming under 26 Aonglenden Assembly Constituency should use their influence to persuade those ‘power seekers’ to humbly withdraw their plan at least for this current election and let the public sentiment prevail which is for selecting a consensus candidate. Since the present seat now lying vacant is not the outcome of resignation but unfortunate passing away of the MLA in concern, ethically the right thing to do would be to allow the family members along with the villagers to work out the best possible stop gap arrangement and one that will honour the wishes of the late MLA since although he is no more, he was the one to have got elected for this present term.  And whoever is chosen by the family and villagers to complete the remaining term of the Late Congress MLA, all sides including the Chief Minister should give support to such a candidate and forego the option of a bitter and costly election. This is a good opportunity for the political parties in the State to work together on common issues confronting our State.  People for once should be happy to stay away from a divisive political campaign and off course the malpractices and other social evils that elections throw up.