Nagaland needs good leaders, leaders that do not need to pay people to call them leaders. Yet, to change the vicious cycle of money and muscle power, everyone needs to participate in the system, through ethical and informed voting. Clean election is a collective social responsibility that begins individual by individual.
One Man, One Vote, One Value
A state’s development is seen through the efficiency of a leader which people elect to lead the state into the future ethical and informed voting.
It has been observed that many people seem confused with the word “ethic,” confused not in terms of the meaning but in terms of its application. We hear of corruption that takes place in that same office where leaders and bureaucrats work who make speeches on work ethic, development and a state free of corruption. One cannot overlook corruption that exists in every nook and corner of the State which reaches its zenith during the election time.
Nagaland is a Christian State; the Church also plays a vital role to raise awareness and changes for a clean election. In this way forward, in recent times, churches such as NBCC have conducted programmes like Clean Election Campaign to raise awareness on the ethical clean election. To follow suit, Christian pastors should exercise the enormous moral authority at their disposal and ensure the success of the Clean Election Campaign.
Similarly, some other programmes have also been conducted towards the goal of a clean election. We have heard of “the lime challenge” conducted by Youth Net. This is a step forward to create awareness. Then we have the Election department who have removed bogus and multiple voting cards. All these initiatives are commendable and the practices should be undertaken by all. Nagaland is small yet divided because of reasons such as tribalism, favorisms, family pressure, clan issue, etc. which bring about complexity in the system and how things are run. When one leaves his home, one finds a dozen things to complain about, however, what good is a complaint when steps are not taken to address it. This issue should be taken out in a constructive way where one realizes that all these begin with the selection of a leader who is honest and addresses the need of the state towards development. To choose new leaders, the right policymakers who can set a better trend for the State’s development, election laws need to be obeyed by the citizens. Every citizen should know the importance of casting his vote. We have heard of people overcome by laziness during the day of election to stand in the queue and cast his vote. In this case, that person loses his moral authority to complain later against the way the government functions.
Kesonyu Yhome, the then DC Dimapur has stressed time and again in interviews and many programmes about the importance of education which is the key element to a developed society by stressing that a government is as good as the people are, for those who represent us in the government are elected by us. During an interview in 2011, he stated that “the moment the educational system goes wrong it leads to a lot of social problems.”
It is true that the development of mindset comes from quality education. Besides the church, it is the duty of institutions to instill a sense of responsibility for ethical and informed voting.
Then, we have ACAUT Nagaland which was formed in February 2014, a platform to address unabated taxation and general corruption. Their endeavor is to create consensus among the masses on unabated taxation or general corruption indulged in by the NPGs and the established government. This mass-based movement has helped many to realize that Nagaland can be a state that is free from unabated taxation and from rampant corruption in all spheres.
In support of the Clean Election Campaign, ACAUT Nagaland with an initiative by the Chief Electoral Officer has taken steps to clean up the State’s E-Roll. They have committed to deleting all bogus and multiple entries of names in the state electoral. During one of their meetings, it was opined that inflated electoral roll is the root cause of all corruption in the State. According to the State Chief Electoral Officer, the total number of voters has been reduced by almost 2 lakhs to 11, 74,633 lakhs as of 2015, probably making Nagaland the only state in India to have negative electoral growth rate. As per the Representation of People’s Act, any individual having more than 2 names in the e-roll should be jailed. So far the State Election Commission has failed to apply the full force of the Law.
Moreover, the Election Commission should also reach out to the village councils/GBs who are the true repository of power at the village level to assist in identification of bogus/multiple entries of names and ghost households. Like the village councils/GBs, the churches are also a repository of the Naga population and they would be able to provide the membership figures to the State Election Commission to tally the numbers.
Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society. The Corrupt electoral role will only beget corrupt leaders, therefore, we need to ensure that the society refrains from becoming apathetic but practice ethical and informed voting through active participation during election awareness programmes, campaigns, and discussions.
Bribery during elections is another issue that needs to be addressed. Despite many efforts and contributions by various platforms and individuals, the work towards ethical practices of a clean election becomes invisible due to money power. Therefore, one should realize that a clean election is a social responsibility and that Nagaland needs a good leader, one that doesn’t need to pay people to call him a leader.
In the upcoming election, there will be about 100,000 new voters, and each and every vote will make a difference. In a democracy, we get the Government we want, a government we deserve, therefore, ethical and informed voting is the key.
Degree of Thought is a weekly community column initiated by Tetso College in partnership with The Morung Express. Degree of Thought will delve into the social, cultural, political and educational issues around us. The views expressed here do not reflect the opinion of the institution. Tetso College is a NAAC Accredited UGC recognised Commerce and Arts College. The editors are Dr Hewasa Lorin, Tatongkala Pongen, Aniruddha, Meren and Kvulo Lorin.
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