June 30: Former Nagaland chief minister Sanaiyangba Chubatoshi Jamir looks set to become the next governor of Goa, while his bété noire, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) will be more than happy to see his back.
The official notification has not reached 74-year-old Congress leader yet, but he said it was a mere formality.
Sources close to Jamir said the veteran politician opted for a peaceful state when Union home minister Shivraj Patil called to inform him about Delhi’s plan to cast him in a gubernatorial role.
“No bullet-proof jackets, no AK-47s,” Jamir today said, referring to the peaceful and sun-blanched western state by the Arabian Sea.
Jamir admitted that Goa was similar to Nagaland in many ways. Both are primarily Christian states and the people are fond of pork.
The sources said Jamir, who had served as the parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, “expressed willingness for the post if appointed in a peaceful state away from the northeastern region”.
The former chief minister has survived three attempts on his life by the NSCN(I-M). One of these attacks took place in New Delhi.
The NSCN (I-M) has always considered Jamir an “Indian nationalist” and a hurdle to the peace process.
A source close to the outfit’s leadership said the decision to shift Jamir to Goa would considerably help the peace negotiations. “Once he becomes a governor, it will not be politically correct for him to comment about happenings in another state or directly interfere in its affairs,” he added.
Jamir said he had asked the Congress high command to “give me some rest, and they accepted. The people of the state and my party are happy with the honour bestowed on me”.
The Congress leaders in Nagaland were expecting either a gubernatorial position or a place in the AICC for him, if not a cabinet berth in the ruling coalition at the Centre.
One of the few leaders from the Northeast who has been in the thick of national politics, Jamir was with the United Democratic Front before switching over to the Congress. He is the only living signatory to the 16-point agreement which paved the way for Nagaland’s statehood.