The entire North East is witnessing a change since the Modi Government came into office in 2014. The people of North East gave an opportunity to the Bharatiya Janata Party in most of the Seven Sisters as they were frustrated with lack of development and indifference of the previous Congress governments at the Centre and States. As Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in the next few days in Nagaland, Organiser Assistant Editor Ravi Mishra spoke to S Phangnon Konyak, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha & State President, BJP Mahila Morcha, Nagaland, who said there is a sea change as far as development and infrastructural projects are concerned. Also, Prime Minister’s Act East policy is making an impact because the North East, which felt isolated from the rest of India, has now joined the national mainstream. There is more integration among the people. Excerpts:
As Rajya Sabha MP from the Bharatiya Janata Party, please share with us your experience in Parliament so far?
As Rajya Sabha MP from BJP, my experience has been very good. I have numerous advantages because, being from the ruling party, I get opportunities every now and then to participate in Parliamentary proceedings. Also, there is a huge advantage because I represent the diverse North East. Despite being a lone RS MP from Nagaland, I don’t feel left out. In fact, I feel like a part of the family. I have mentors who keep advising me. Within the BJP, there are senior leaders and senior MPs who share their experiences and also guide me. So it is a huge advantage to be in the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Is BJP a political force in Nagaland because Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in the State in the next few days?
BJP in Nagaland is a force to be reckoned with. This force is multiplying because of the inclusive policies and schemes of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. People are grateful to the party. However, politics in Nagaland have been a bit different. People usually don’t go for schemes and policies, but money and muscle power still play a part. Now, we see people are grateful for the policies, and these welfare schemes of our Prime Minister have been the primary reason why BJP has managed to set foot in Nagaland.
What are the main issues bothering the people in this Assembly elections and
what is the response of the people towards the BJP?
Let me say at the outset that people have goodwill and good feelings towards the BJP. As far as issues are concerned, we cannot generalise and say there is a specific issue because different constituencies have their own dynamics. In some constituencies, it is about the use of excessive money and muscle power, which will make an impact in the elections. However, in other constituencies, the policies and programmes of the BJP-led governments are working for the betterment of the people. In some constituencies, it is all about clan politics, while in others tribal dynamics come into play. Therefore, we cannot say there is a general issue but then everyone wants good governance. At the end of the day, everyone is looking for this, but for that to happen we need new faces in the electoral battle.
“BJP in Nagaland is a force to be reckoned with. This force is multiplying because of the inclusive policies and schemes of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi. People are grateful to the party”
There has been a feeling of change in the entire North East since the Narendra Modi-led Government came to power in 2014. What is your observation?
North East has developed a lot since Narendra Modi Ji came to power in 2014. What North East was earlier is very different from what it is now. There is a sea change as far as development is concerned. A lot of progress has been made in the infrastructural sector. Also, Prime Minister’s ‘Act East’ policy is making an impact because North East, which was in the periphery, has now come into the mainstream. There is more of a feeling of integration among the people. Seeing the benefits and the attention the region is drawing, the North East will see more changes in the coming months. It is time that North East will contribute towards nation-building.
Though you are now a Rajya Sabha MP, it is also a fact that women from Nagaland have never been elected as MLAs. However, BJP is known to give opportunities to women candidates in electoral politics. Will we see a change in women’s representation in the upcoming elections?
I see a change because, this time, we have very smart and capable women candidates from various parties contesting the elections. People now realise that for development, we need equal participation, and also, the political representation of women is vital. So definitely, this time, we will see a change. We will see women coming to the legislative Assembly.