TNT Desk | Peren, February 15, 2018
NDPP Chief Ministerial candidate Neiphiu Rio today lambasted Chief Minister TR Zeliang and his government for lacking vision and governance which had been a detrimental setback to the State in the last 4 years.
Addressing mammoth gatherings at various places under Peren District such as Tenning, Peren, Athibung and Jalukie today, Rio exuded confidence that the NDPP-BJP Alliance will come to power with absolute majority on its own. He said that although the BJP had been in alliance with the NPF for the last 15 years, the BJP favoured the newly floated party (NDPP) as it had lost confidence in the leadership of TR Zeliang whose tumultuous tenures in office were riddled with massive corruption, instability, misgovernance, propaganda and lies which had severely damaged the prospects of the NPF Party. “Leadership should be visionary, strong and should keep its commitment with the people. His (TR’s) leadership is without vision, and he leads from behind instead of from the front,” Rio stated.
Recalling how he resigned as Home Minister in 2002 and revived the regional party in the form of NPF and contested the ensuing general assembly elections in 2003 under the regional banner, Rio revealed that although TR Zeliang was repeatedly invited to join the NPF back then, TR Zeliang could not muster the courage to join hands with the party. Rio went on to state that after becoming Chief Minister, when the NPF led DAN Government decided to fulfill the long-cherished dream of upgrading Peren Sub-Division to full fledged District, then only TR Zeliang came and joined the NPF. He was accommodated as Cabinet Minister, and later sent to the Parliament as Rajya Sabha Member. However, TR Zeliang wanted to come back to State politics, and after winning, he was again accommodated as a Minister in the cabinet.
Coming down heavily on TR Zeliang’s poor leadership quality, Rio stated that after he left for Delhi as MP (Lok Sabha), TR Zeliang’s leadership brought immense embarrassment to the Naga people which is known to everyone. In addition to this, the Chief Minister’s biggest lie to the people is his educational qualification for which he has been misleading everyone. “Even if he does not feel embarrassed, I am sure that the people of this District are ashamed of his lies and deceit. If you abet his lies, then it is also tantamount to you all telling lies. Even in his profile in various editions of the Who is Who published by the Nagaland Legislative Assembly after every General Election, the Chief Minister has been giving contradicting claims as to the year of his graduation such as 1979 and 1980. This time, he is unable to provide his BA Certificate and is also embarrassed to say he failed and so he stated in his affidavit ‘BA Appeared’ but there is no such certificate for ‘BA Appeared’. He is still unrelenting and refuses to accept his mistakes. Rather, he is trying to use money power to influence his election. If you allow his political designs to manifest itself here, you will only land in the opposition,” Rio stated.
Drawing attention to the unabated propaganda against the NDPP-BJP alliance, Rio recalled that the fear came when TR Zeliang was the Chief Minister. “The BJP has been in an alliance with the NPF since 2003. It has now been 15 years. We are not going to join the BJP. But we have to maintain a good rapport with the Central Government so that we can expedite the peace process and carry forward the development agenda of the Central Government for the benefit of our people and by empowering our youths and people living in rural areas,” Rio assured.
Elucidating on the seat sharing equation between the NDPP and the BJP, Rio stated that the central BJP leaders were aware that the Nagas have an ongoing political issue for which the BJP party accords special respect to the Naga political issue. He conveyed the views of the central BJP leadership on Nagaland being a Christian dominated state and the importance of respecting the faith of the Nagas. This made the BJP settle for only 20 seats while agreeing to let the NDPP contest in 40 seats. “We have not aligned with the BJP to convert but to protect our rights as enshrined in Article 371 (A) and therefore, our relationship with the Central Government is very important. Article 25-28 under the Constitution of India guarantees secularism and the freedom of religion to all its citizens and therefore, no one needs to fear since it is our constitutional right to profess the faith of our choice. We are Christians and there is no compromise on that,” Rio avowed.
Ridiculing the NPF for its flipflops and divergent views on its stand regarding the BJP, Rio questioned the differing views of the NPF President and the Chief Minister on their opposite views regarding the NPF party’s alliance with the BJP. Dismissing the Chief Minister’s claims that the NPF’s doors were open, Rio opined that it is highly unlikely that the BJP will enter the doors of a party which is indecisive and divergent in its views on the alliance.
Reacting to the Chief Minister’s tall claims of developing Tenning within two years if the NPF candidate is elected, Rio stated that although TR Zeliang was elected 4 times from Tenning A/C, he did not develop the constituency and instead ran away and contested in Peren. “He could not do anything in the 20 years he represented you, and now he claims to develop Tenning within two years,” Rio stated.
In Jalukie, Rio appealed to the people to elect NDPP candidate Iherie Ndang and assured to induct him into the Cabinet if elected, after the NDPP-BJP storms to power. “It is up to you to choose which side you want to be on. I hope that you will heed my words and support our party candidate because choosing otherwise is only going to land you in the opposition,” Rio said.
Those who spoke at the rallies included Namri Nchang (6 Tenning A/C), Iherie Ndang (7 Peren A/C), Neiba Ndang, former minister and Advisor, NDPP, Vatsu Meru, former minister and senior member, NDPP.