Despite reports that the BJP ‘High Command’ will make a decision on the widely speculated oppositionless government following a meeting at CM Rio’s residence on Saturday, local party leaders were not in the know of the meeting.
The party leaders at the district level told Mokokchung Times that they were unaware of such a meeting, indicating that the local party leaders are not kept in the loop.
“We are only aware that the subject of oppositionless would be considered on March 20,” a district BJP president stated.
Similar responses were made by the district NDPP General Secretary and the NDPP Vice President.
In fact, an elected legislator from the NDPP-BJP coalition had the same reaction and reportedly told the party members that if a news outlet is giving out the information on the meeting, then the information must be genuine.
This, according to observers, could be a fine example of how every decision taken by the NDPP-BJP alliance in Nagaland is exclusively determined by the respective parties’ ‘High Command’ alone.
The same was also reflected in Nagaland during party ticket distribution in the run up to the recently held election when various Nagaland BJP workers wanted an increase in their number of seats in their seat-sharing partnership with the NDPP but the BJP High Command did not entertain their demand.
Similarly, CM Rio was alleged of excluding some candidates to whom he had promised the NDPP ticket.
These are signs of High Command rejecting suggestions from local party leaders, particularly of the BJP where the party performed poorly as compared to their ally NDPP.
It may be recalled that following the West Bengal election results in 2021, the state BJP leader admitted that the “central leadership did not follow the suggestion provided by the local leaders and instead ignored their advice.”
A similar incident occurred when local NDPP-BJP workers from several districts demanded portfolios for their local MLAs but were disregarded, while some were even expelled from the party.
According to analysts, this ‘dictatorial’ aspect of a political organization was first witnessed in India under Indira Gandhi’s Congress, when she made herself the ‘dictatorial’ Congress Chief, making the term ‘High Command’ originate for the first time. High Command indicates individual (s) at the pinnacle of a political party.
And now, decades later, since 2014, after Indira, the same High Command model has dominated not only the Congress and the BJP, but all parties.
According to political observers, the High Command’s influence stems directly from its capacity to win elections. Whatever the leader’s philosophy, if he or she is a vote-catcher, the party falls in line, opposition is quelled, and the flock keeps together.
Neiphiu Rio, like Prime Minister Modi, constantly wins elections and has never had a worthy opponent since 2003. As a result, CM Rio has cemented his position as the NDPP’s High Command.
And much like Indira, when once she realized she had the people’s backing and the single appeal to win elections – whether for the Centre or the states – she dictated the conditions, even CM Rio, according to sources, controls his party, the NDPP.
The same has been said of Modi-Shah by analysts and experts.
Unlike the Congress, the BJP was formerly recognized for embracing democracy at the party level and enabling grassroots workers and leaders to flourish, enhance their talents, and give more and more to society and the country.
However, in recent years, notably since 2014, observers have pointed out that the BJP have adopted the Congress mentality of ‘high command’ while at the same time, with Rio consistently winning easy elections, Rio is the NDPP’s high command.
The problem with the high command, political experts fear, is that it violates the notion of ‘local people know local problems best’ and hence would curtail the elected members from adequately reflecting the opinions of the electorates.