ANDALIB AKHTER /New Delhi
Veteran Congress leader from North East and currently Governor of Odisha Dr Senayangba Chubatoshi Jamir, popularly known as S C Jamir is likely to become the next Vice-President of the country.
According to reliable sources Mr Jamir’s name is in the panel of names selected by the ruling BJP and he certainly has an adage over others considering his seniority, minority and tribal status and North East background.
Jamir, who served as a Governor of Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, was appointed the Governor of Odisha by the Manmohan Singh Government in March 2013. Besides former Lt. General Nirbhay Sharma (Mizoram), Jamir is the sole UPA era Governor in the Modi Government.
Though there are other names like former Union Minister, Mr V K Deo and few other NDA appointed Governors. But Jamir has edge over all of them.
Besides being a five-time Chief Minister of Nagaland – three of these as a Congressman – 87-year-old Jamir, has the distinction of standing for the country’s integrity and sovereignty in spite of several murderous attacks on him by the NSCN(IM) militants.
Though Jamir had denied the reports earlier saying: “at present I am Governor of Odisha.”
Apart from political considerations, the post of Vice-President normally does not belong to the ruling party since President is it’s the nominee. On that consideration the present Vice President Mr Hamid Ansari was chosen from the left front when Mr Pranab Mukheree became President as ruling UPA’s choice.
There was an exception during previous NDA Government when Mr Bhairan Singh Sekhawat was nominated for the Vice-President’s post even though he belonged to BJP. But that time the reason given was that then President late Abdul Kalam Azad was near unanimous choice by both BJP and opposition Congress.
Moreover, appointing Jamir, a Christian from tribal dominated North East will work to the advantage of BJP which is eying for Meghalaya and Mizoram. These two states are going to polls in North East along with his home state Nagaland and are ruled by Congress at present.
Nagaland already is ruled by NPF where BJP is a major partner. Interestingly, in Nagaland all Congress M.L.As and most party leaders including Mr Apok Jamir, son of the Governor have joined the coalition. Congress was quick enough to expel most such leaders.
If elected Jamir will be the first tribal from North East to occupy the high office. Some in BJP feel that besides the much needed secular message, electoral gains this will also help to remove the feeling of alienation in the North East and bring the region closer to the mainstream.