GUWAHATI: Joel Naga, the founder of Nagaland’s newest political outfit ‘Rising People’s Party’ has cited Assam’s Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal as cautionary tales ahead of launching his party’s campaign for 2023 Assembly elections.
Naga, whose party has now been registered under the Election Commission of India (ECI), says that he has to be “realistic” as far as his party’s political prospects are concerned.
“Even though the AJP and Raijor Dal had a lot of hype going into the election, they hardly won anything. I think this is because they had less time and could not reach out to the grassroots ahead of the election. As for us, we think we have more time to disseminate our message of change among the masses,” he said.
According to Mr. Naga, this time, it will be an ideological battle between “money and ideology.”
“The parties which are in power in the state might have won the election, but at the end, it was about who purchased the mandate. This time, it will be a battle between money and ideas. If you are following the trend in Nagaland, since 2008, the political parties have been spending thousands of crores. It is probably going to be the same in 2023. We are unlikely to have that kind of money muscle so we will have to bank on our ideas and our message.”
Naga also prophesies that the youths of Nagaland will have a key role to play in the ensuing polls.
- “In Nagaland, we are currently in whata situation where vote does not matter and only money matters and youths and women are the disempowered lot. If there is a party that allows the youth and the women — who comprise 50% of the electorate — the voting outcome might differ.”
As his party is new, Naga says, the main purpose will be to “reach out” to the younger generation with a message.
“We need to have dialogues with all kinds of people — college students, intellectuals, unemployed youths, to women, to rural people — to make ourselves heard.”
For those who follow the local Northeast Indian news, the president of the new party — Joel Naga needs very little introduction.
Joel was one of the founding members of the Action Committee Against Unabated Taxation (ACAUT) — of which he became president later.
Naga also envisions that Nagaland will see a woman MLA through his party.
During that time, he reportedly helped expose pressing issues like fuel adulteration and backdoor appointments.
“Basically, we have to enter the system and change the system, that is the basic goal. Shouting from outside, nothing was changing. So the best way to change it is by joining active politics. That is our singular vision,” he said.
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