NDPP-BJP alliance yet to take a call on ‘opposition-less’ government; citizens voice against it

Kohima: Thejoto Nienu, a journalist from Nagaland, viewed that the role of the opposition is now being left to the pressure groups and CSOs.

BY | Friday, 17 March, 2023

With the first session of the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) slated to begin from 20 March onwards, the picture of whether Nagaland will witness an ‘opposition-less’ government still remains unclear in spite of political parties extending unconditional support to the ruling PDA government of BJP-NDPP.

The alliance partners who had won with comfortable numbers of 12 (BJP) and 25 (NDPP), totaling 37 in the 60-member House, is yet to take a final call on whether it will install an opposition-less government.

If at all it is installed, this will be the third time Nagaland will be witnessing an opposition-less government. In the past – 2015 and 2021 – opposition-less governments were formed during the ongoing term of a government, however, this would be the first-ever assembly that is set to be an opposition-less one even before the House has been sworn in.

While there is no directives as such from the BJP high command on this matter, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who is from the NDPP party, had recently told reporters that the final decision on acceptance of an opposition-less government will be taken only after proper consultation with the BJP.

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Meanwhile, Nagaland citizens are of the view that having an opposition-less government will do no good for the people as there will be no elected member or party to raise the concerns of the public in the Assembly and are apprehensive of its deliverance as an opposition-less govt.

‘Role of opposition left to the pressure groups and CSOs’

Thejoto Nienu, a journalist from Nagaland stated that all political parties had very well expounded the role of opposition in democracy ahead of the election, but have resolved to lend a hand in strengthening the government for reasons best known to them.

Nienu viewed that the role of the opposition is now being left to the pressure groups and CSOs.

“People blame the absence of opposition in NLA to hold the government accountable and transparent, while the government of the day also claims glory for records of opposition less unlike the rest of the states in the country. Unfortunately, neither the elected representatives nor the voters want to be in opposition. Now, with an opposition-less government in the cards, the state is facing a peculiar system in governance. If you may recall, because of the frequent defection in the past, the anti-defection law was introduced in the 80s, and now with this opposition-less government, constitutional experts may have to find a way out. However, apparently, the future opposition will not be political parties but public opinion. Let’s now watch the delivery,” stated Nienu.

On the reasons of political parties extending their support to the ruling government to resolve the vexed Indo-Naga political issue, he opined that it can be resolved with or without opposition as it is a people’s movement and if the negotiating parties decide to bring to an end the protracted Naga issue everyone would pave the way.

Read: Nagaland Legislative Assembly Speaker to be elected on 20 March

Meanwhile, Naga Students’ Federation President K Tep, asserted that it is the desire of the people and the student community to see that there is a strong opposition to make a good government as well as delivering good governance, adding that the idea of an ‘opposition-less’ government is a disappointment.

“As we live in a democratic country, we wish to see that there is opposition to make the government effective. In fact, I see that an opposition-less government may not be able to favour the people at large though it is the policymakers who came together to form an opposition-less govt.”

According to Tep, witnessing opposition-less government twice in the state has not yielded any positive results and there is apprehension even this time.

“For the interest of the people they must have come together but we are very apprehensive because even in the last government they came together to solve the Naga political issue as well as other issues confronting the state, whereas we did not see any solution as well as we did not see much positive impact and for which we are very doubtful and very disappointed,” added Tep.

As for Sedelo Tekhe, General Secretary of Dimapur Naga Students Union, he was of the view that having an opposition-less government makes “no sense”.

He said, “As a youth leader, it doesn’t make sense. A state without an opposition may open a lot of loopholes, where there is no voice to go against the ruling government. When there is no opposition how can we expect things to go right?

In order to resolve so many issues the government has come up with the idea to have an opposition-less govt. I think with the majority opinion of the house, they can resolve and it is not necessary to have an opposition-less government. Nagaland is the only state to have an opposition-less government and as a democratic country we need to have an opposition.”

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