All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and member of Parliament (MP) Mukul Wasnik alleged complete breakdown of law and order in Nagaland.
Wasnik, who is heading the six-member AICC delegation, arrived Nagaland to hold discussions with senior State Congress leaders with regard to the forthcoming Assembly elections. The other members include AICC screening committee chairman for Nagaland Mohan Prakash, member screening committee Sanjay Dutt, MPs and AICC observers– Francisco Sardinha, Dr. K. Jayakumar, and AICC secretary I/c Nagaland and Sikkim Ranajit Mukherjee.
Speaking exclusively to Nagaland Post here on Wednesday, he stated that the writ of the State government was not running in the manner it should.
He expressed great concern over high level corruption, unemployment, lack of development and industries. Wasnik said Congress, as a responsible political party, aimed to usher in an atmosphere where a sense of security was felt by every single individual and where industries could come up and provide employment to youth.
Even though Congress did not have a single representative in the Assembly, he claimed that the party had been playing the role of a responsible opposition party, taking up different issues of public concern, and expressed the hope that the party would get the support of masses in the upcoming Assembly election when the schedule was announced.
He acknowledged party workers in the State and district levels for undertaking various exercises, charting strategies, gearing up organisations and reaching out to the people.
Asked about the purpose of his visit to the State, Wasnik replied that he was entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating with Congress leaderships in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura, and to oversee the party in view of the upcoming Assembly election.
‘Formidable’ alliance on the cards
On whether Congress would be forging alliance with any party, he disclosed that there had been interactions with some like-minded parties in this regard, though nothing had been finalised yet.
He said it would not be surprising to see a very “formidable combination” coming up, which he assumed would be able to completely change the discourse during the election campaign.
He also claimed that many leaders from other parties had approached Congress leaders at different levels to work together.
Though many have speculated NPCC and NPF coming together again against the NDPP-BJP alliance in the State, Wasnik did not divulge any specific details, but disclosed that some discussions were on with like-minded parties on the possibility of an alliance.
“To say anything at this moment won’t be appropriate on my part but, nonetheless, the exercise is underway,” he remarked.
He also refused to provide the number of candidates likely to be fielded by NPCC in the election, stating that it would be “premature” to talk on the number now. Wasnik however claimed that “quite a large number of people” had expressed their intention and willingness to contest election.
Earlier during the day, the AICC delegation led by Wasnik held discussions with NPCC president K. Therie and working president Bobby Panicker.
According to NPCC communications department, discussions were held on the probability of elections being announced or the imposition of President’s Rule in Nagaland. The meeting also appraised the mood of the people of the state and the prospects of the upcoming elections.
At the meeting, Therie said that the ground reality of Nagaland was that the people were not in favour of election. Voters want implementation of the agreed political solutions, he said. “However, if BJP and NDPP want to go against the wishes of the people and have elections, then come what may, the state Congress is prepared to fight all out,” he told the AICC delegation.
Taking note of the CBSE exams, commencing from February 15, Therie said that if elections were announced, the Election Commission may have to complete the poll process before February 15 leaving hardly 35 days.
Therefore, irrespective of whether elections are announced or PR imposed, Therie stated the Congress was prepared to meet the challenges.
On forming a ‘secular front’, the NPCC leaders said that if elections were announced they would chalk out the strategy with like-minded parties. If not, NPCC said the party may have to fight all the 60 assembly constituencies alone.
The AICC delegation assured full support to the state Congress in the event of elections, “to fight and dethrone the 20-year misrule of BJP alliance with regionals.”
Stars campaigners: The meeting also discussed the possibility of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and Lok Sbaha MP Shashi Tharoor to visit Nagaland as star campaigners in the event elections are announced.