Naga party entry makes poll-bound Arunachal angry
The sun appears to have set for the BJP in poll-bound Arunachal Pradesh. But its former ally from adjoining Nagaland is generating the political heat in India's land of the rising sun.india Updated: Sep 02, 2009 20:27 IST
The sun appears to have set for the BJP in poll-bound Arunachal Pradesh. But its former ally from adjoining Nagaland is generating the political heat in India's land of the rising sun.
The Naga People's Front (NPF) - it was Nagaland People's Front prior to July 28 - has finalized its candidate in six of 12 Assembly constituencies across Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. The other six are being zeroed on.
"We are in the process of submitting the list of all 12 candidates to the Election Commission of India. We shall also be completing the formalities required for the minor change in the name of our party," NPF secretary general Aja Kenye told HT from New Delhi.
For Nagaland's northeastern neighbours, though, the name change is far from 'minor'. They suspect the renamed NPF - formerly with the NDA, it is ruling Nagaland for the second successive term -has endorsed the Naga militants' agenda of Greater Nagaland.
Greater Nagaland, which entails bringing all Naga-inhabited areas of the northeast under one administrative umbrella, is the brainchild of the rebel National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah). Its map includes four hill districts of Manipur, two districts of Arunachal Pradesh and large swathes of four districts of Assam.
One of the reasons why the 11-year-old truce with the NSCN (I-M) has headed nowhere is the refusal of Nagaland's neighbours to cede an inch of their respective territories. The issue cropped up again after the NPF rechristened itself to "accelerate the process of Naga integration" and decided to contest polls in areas the NSCN (I-M) has eyes on.
Both the NSCN (IM) and its rival Khaplang faction run parallel governments in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
"If the NPF had no ulterior motives, it would have contested anywhere else but Tirap and Changlang. We will oppose tooth and nail its decision to contest in our state," said All Arunachal Pradesh Students Union president Takam Tatung from Itanagar. "We have also sought the immediate intervention of Governor JJ Singh to invoke the provisions of Article 371(H) to thwart the NPF bid and prevent ethnic divisions."
The NPF, apparently, is unperturbed by the simmering anger in Arunachal Pradesh. "We are highly optimistic about winning most of the seats and empowering our Naga brethren there," Kenye said.