The rise and fall of Purno Sangma has been a fairytale with a spin. Coming from a much ignored northeast state, Sangma became the speaker of Lok Sabha and held an important post in Sharad Pawar led NCP and then committed political suicide. He contested presidential elections against Congress candidate Pranab Mukherjee and after losing the elections went to the court challenging the election of Mukherjee as the president of India.
Sangma is now leading a regional party National People's Party in Meghalaya, the state of which he once the chief minister. He will not be much of threat to the ruling Congress government and at best give them scare in few seats. Meghalaya is most likely to return the Congress-led coalition government.
Resistance to arms ban
The Isak-Muivah and Khaplang groups of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) have rejected the ban imposed by the Cease Fire Monitoring Group on movement of their cadres with arms and ammunitions till the February 23 election is over in the state.
Convener of the political affairs committee of NSCN (IM) alleged that the directive issued by the chairman of Cease Fire Monitoring Group (CFMG) Maj Gen (Rtd) N George "overstepped" his jurisdiction.
The Convener said it also violated the ceasefire ground rules (CFGR) by the chairman, "who is supposed to enforce the CFGR without any tendency of being partial in favour of the Centre."
Maj Gen George had on February 5 said that all members of the three NSCNs, including identity card holders have been banned from carrying any type of weapon between February 7 to 23 as per directives issued by the Election Commission.
The EC directive had the sanction of the Union Home Ministry, the CFMG chairman had said.
In a statement, NSCN (K) ministry of information and publicity said the decision was "not acceptable because Indian election law cannot be applied to NSCN/GPRN which is different entity."
It said that the 'Naga national movement' existed before Nagaland state came into being and would continue even if 'Nagaland state vanishes'.
The NSCN (IM) has made it clear that it would not abide by the ban stating that it was against the ceasefire agreement signed with the Centre. The NSCN-IM has said the cardholders would carry weapons as mentioned in the ceasefire agreement, whether there was an election in the state or not.
The NSCN (IM) had entered into a ceasefire with the Government of India since 1997 while NSCN (K) had signed the pact in 2001 and thereafter the ceasefire agreements have been extended yearly.
Meanwhile, the security forces have set up mobile checkposts and were frisking passersby and checking vehicles. This led to seizure of a huge cache of assorted arms, including foreign made guns and ammunition and arrest of cadres of the underground groups by the Assam Rifles in various districts.
On February 5, the personnel of 17 and 19 Assam Rifles seized a huge consignment of highly sophisticated weapons, made in Germany and Austria, from the possession of a suspected NSCN-IM cadre after a joint operation.
Meghalaya and Nagaland go to polls on February 23.