Imminence of President’s Rule?

It will not be wrong to say that the latest political developments in Nagaland state are stranger than fiction. The Bharatiya Janata Party is tight lipped when it comes to their previous Nagaland assembly election slogan “Election for Solution.” This party talks big about how great the country has become or how much development and progress it has achieved since the Modi government first came to power. The party down to its last “karyakarta” in the state has learnt to talk about “politics of development” but they have no answer when questioned about their “Election for Solution” slogan. Rightly so, because the “solution” did not come and they made the chest beating slogan by going against the other political parties in 2018 who were all for “Solution, not Election.” The most the BJP can do is blame the NSCN(IM), with whom the Modi government signed the Framework Agreement. It is now becoming difficult to tell if the NSCN(IM) is such a hard nut to crack or if the BJP government is so inept.


And then there is the Rising People’s Party leading the charge in demanding President’s Rule in Nagaland. The nascent political party has been a thorn in the flesh of the present government of Nagaland although it pretends to ignore them. The Central Nagaland Tribes Council (CNTC) has also appealed for President’s Rule in Nagaland but for a different cause. While the RPP’s demand is not based on the Naga political problem, CNTC’s is. Regardless, both are demands for President’s Rule and it goes to show that not everyone is okay with the system of governance in Nagaland today. The RPP’s demand for President’s Rule, per their claim, is based on the conditions that merit a President’s Rule as provided under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution. The RPP’s demand has reached the Prime Minister’s table although there has been no response from the Prime Minister’s Office.


Enter the ENPO. A plot twist was added to the political drama when ENPO in August of this year declared their intention to boycott all elections within their jurisdiction. The latest news we’re receiving is that ENPO has reiterated its August resolution to abstain from participating in the ensuing state assembly elections. In fact, they’ve taken it a notch up by resolving to “demand” the resignation of all party workers affiliated with any political party and that filing of nomination papers will also not be allowed. We know the Naga polity. If the ENPO mean what they say, and do what they mean, the political party workers will be compelled to resign and no one would dare file their nomination papers. In a way, it is like ENPO is supporting the RPP’s demand for President’s Rule in Nagaland. According to Article 356, President’s Rule can be imposed on any state of India on the grounds of the failure of the constitutional machinery. And there’s no bigger constitutional crisis in a state than being unable to hold assembly elections.


It will be a difficult pill to swallow for the BJP to go to the elections with their “Election for Solution” promise not fulfilled. The ENPO’s election boycott is getting stronger. Are we headed for a President’s Rule?

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