Recent political developments in the North Eastern region have indicated that most central leaders and political parties do not shown keen interest in the developmental and social security of the habitats. In a huge blow to Sharad Pawar, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leaders in Arunachal Pradesh on August 7, 2017 dissolved the party and merged it with the National People’s Party (NPP) in the state. On the other side of the region on same day, a month after Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress expelled its six Tripura legislators and they formally joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of ministers from the Union and Assam governments.
In the case of Arunachal Pradesh, the dissolution of the NCP in BJP-ruled state came after NCP leaders alleged that NCP President Sharad Pawar showed “no keen and active interest” in Arunachal Pradesh. The supporters of the NCP have lost confidence with the parent party, as none of the central party leaders, including Pawar, show any keen and active interest” or even visit Arunachal presently facing many issues, be it China’s frequent claims over Arunachal or development issues. NCP MPs never raise it in Parliament and therefore, the rebel members decided to merge with the NPP.
Meanwhile, NPP national President Conrad K. Sangma has appointed former NCP President Gicho Kabak as his party President in Arunachal Pradesh.
In the case of Tripura where the elected members left Congress last year and joined Trinamool to strengthen Mamata Banerjee’s hand to fight against the CPI-M led Left parties. But ‘Didi’ (as Banerjee is popularly known) has changed her stand and now become soft to the Left Front, compelling them to joint BJP.
Last week, Lok Sabha member of Tura Parliamentary constituency Conrad K. Sangma, raised his concerned about the deteriorating ITI and other skilled development education institutions in the region, particularly in Tripura where the institution is without a Principal and other infrastructure, while the remaining one is impossible to appoint qualified Instructors who have industrial knowledge.
The most shocking incident came from Delhi, when its IGP Robin Hibu (IPS) refused to attend one of top engineering colleges in the national capital as Chief Guest while citing a vulgar fashion show and where even two leading NE women in Delhi were also shocked and walked away from the event expressing their terrible feeling to witnessed a vulgarization of North Eastern culture.
According to protestors, they added that even in the past, the national capital had seen very demeaning NE culture shows where the preview advertisement was a display of a virtually naked NE woman and male to be shown in a fashion show in hotel in South Delhi. This resulted in the members of communities from the North East staging an acrimonious protest against what they termed as the damaging of the culture and moral mooring of NE states.
Here at the home ground, most of the politicians blame the national media for wrongly representing the region by carrying only negative issues, while, the media here too has failed to highlight the positive aspects and development of the region. They are actually flowing along with the national tide and it is time that the regional media take a pledge to feature the positive aspects here to the outside world.
The Union Minister, Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Jitendra Singh a few years back assured that the Central Government would take all steps to bring the northeast region closer both in terms of development and culture. He also assured an increase of the budget for the northeast, provided the Chief Ministers utilize the central funds as Rs. 600 crore or 73 percent of the budget allocation for the North Eastern Council (NEC) remains unutilized.
Also, while stressing on the Chief Ministers of all the eight states to discuss and resolve various strategies and plans on agriculture, railways, road transport and highways, civil aviation, shipping and waterways, power, communication and information technology, the DoNER Minister expressed that one of the most important priorities is to empower the youth of the region by way of providing employment and generating opportunities which could be achieved in a number of ways.
Such is the present situation in the region, where all the eight states - Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur and Sikkim are encouraged to improve international relationships even though internal security is at stake. Inter-state and even inter-district conflicts have displaced innumerable families. Here, foreign tourists are warmly welcomed, but, the domestic tourists are considered as a threat and even as influx. The World Bank is always looked upon for financial aid, while Indians from outside the northeastern region are not allowed to invest or do any business.
The central government, through DoNER must wake up and accept that northeastern states are in a dilemma. There is no peace internally and they cannot reach out for assistance directly from the neighboring countries with whom they share the international boundary. While the Central government is amending the law and making it punishable for racial slurs against the people from this region in the capital, the DoNER Minister himself referred to India as the ‘mainland’. Unless the whole nation sheds the mendacious concept of this region, the identity crisis will remain in the North East.
The central political parties should not invest in the region only to secure their respective stance as a National Party while ignoring any assistance to the region, otherwise most such political debacles will continue to take place.