The unprecedented and eerie quiet that marked the election process in Nagaland has sociologists worried, especially after a low voter turnout on Wednesday contrary to official claims of 80 per cent plus. Initial investigations point to the ‘modi’ factor. While the word ‘modi’ (which in Angami Naga dialect means large chunk of cooked bovine meat) usually would make mouths water, the Gujarati manifestation of it has the Nagas in tears these days.
The pot-holed streets of Nagaland sported a deserted look a day after people here grudgingly exercised their franchise even as political parties and their supporters continued to choke traffic nationwide while beefing up their respective vote-banks for the crucial Modi-Sabha Elections 2014. Investigation into the mystery has revealed that industrious Naga men and women of Nagaland are engaged indoors in preparation for ‘doomsday’ after media reported the bonhomie shared by their Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio with his Gujarat counterpart, vegetarian Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, who has tipped himself to be the next prime minister of India. While the Naga aam admi would otherwise not lose much sleep over who gets to head the chaotic country of billions, what has them worried this time around is the impending ban on beef consumption once Modi takes over the reins of the country as its charioteer.
Incidentally, Rio and Modi share the distinction of being the only two chief ministers to be in the running for Parliament.
It has been reported that Naga men and women are working at a furious pace – the males busy carving out secret chambers in their homes to stash away the beef and females busy drying and pickling the red meat for preservation. Unconfirmed reports also say that the richer lot have employed labourers to dig tunnels across districts to smuggle beef in the lean days ahead.
Narendra Modi’s oft-repeated stress on ‘protecting the Gau-Mata’ and banning cow slaughter has reportedly got Nagas in Nagaland worried sick with their chief minister signing his allegiance to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance. Rumour mills are working overtime in Nagaland as people speculate what fate their palate would suffer. Restlessness has been growing since the rumour began doing rounds that Rio bargained for a cabinet berth by pledging to enforce ban on beef-consumption in his State.
Even before the Naga aam admi cast their vote, they were caught in a Catch-22 situation. If they did not vote Rio to the lone Lok Sabha seat, Nagaland would fall out of favour with the Centre in the most likely event of Modi becoming the PM. If they did vote for Rio, he might have to toe the line over grave issues like cow slaughter.