Nagaland unrest and Manipur polls
IN view of the United Naga Council fiercely opposing granting of district status to Kuki dominated Kangpokpi and the agitating council having cordial relationship with the Naga People’s Front (NPF); the Kuki Inpi Kangpokpi District’s decision of imposing restrictions on political activities of the NPF, in endorsement and support of the boycott call given by the JAC Sadar Hills, is on expected line for the Kuki community must be deeply hurt by UNC’s vociferous protest and protracted economic blockade over the issue of creating seven new districts. An Inpi meeting resolving to appeal to the people of Kangpokpi district to dissociate themselves from the ‘boycotted’ party and asking all NPF candidates belonging to the Kuki community, who have been fielded for the 11th Manipur Legislative Assembly Election, to immediately withhold their candidature from the party, is likely to pose a serious hurdle in NPF’s election campaign in areas having substantial Kuki population. The Inpi poser assumes even more significance as it has cautioned that any NPF candidates from Kuki community who defy the restriction will be considered as anti-Kangpokpi district advocates and such individuals will be held solely responsible for any eventuality. The Kuki Inpi’s decision is in sync with the JAC Sadar Hills’ declaration on November 30 to boycott the NPF on the ground that the latter has the backing of the UNC.
In case the JAC’s contention that NPF and UNC are two sides of the same coin holds any water then the NPF fielding its candidates in Kuki strongholds is akin to fishing in troubled waters for the UNC’s stand against the creation of new districts, Kangpokpi in particular, has not gone down well with the Kuki community. By insisting that the government of Manipur must roll back the decision of creating the new districts, the UNC also seems to be gradually losing the bonhomie with the Kuki people, which it enjoyed during the agitation by the tribal people against the ILP bills. Though the boycott call given by the JAC Sadar Hills and Kuki Inpi is unlikely to have any adverse impact on NPF candidates in Naga dominated assembly constituencies, the present restive situation in neighbouring Nagaland, where the NPF is headquartered and is in power, might compel NPF leaders to remain in their home state and concentrate on solving the public agitation arising out of the issue of 30 per cent seat reservation for women in the urban local bodies election. Presence of Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang in Manipur during election time, festivals of the Nagas and other events, has been a common sight for the past few years. However, with TR Zeliang and his cabinet colleagues facing tremendous pressure to quit for defying the demand of Nagaland’s tribal organisations to shelve the women’s reservation policy, the Nagaland CM and other NPF leaders might tone down from their usual expletives against the Government of Manipur, even if they take the bold decision of foraying into Manipur for election campaign. As tirades by the NPF leaders against the Manipur government had been mostly related to Naga issues and fluid law and order situation in Manipur, persisting with the same trend of slamming the Manipur government may not have many takers on account of the NPF-led DAN government’s inability to live up to the expectation of the Naga public in Nagaland.