TNT News | Wokha/Mokokchung, May 17, 2018:
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday called upon the Nagas to be united so that Nagas can live in peace when a final solution to the vexed Naga political issue is reached. Towards this end, he appealed to the NSCN (K) to engage in peace talks with the Government of India.
Addressing political rallies/meetings in Wokha and Mokokchung today, the Chief Minister stated that there was a mass-based aspiration that solution should come before the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019. For this, there has to be landing ground wherein all Nagas are united so that solution is inclusive.
The Chief Minister reiterated the PDA Government’s wholehearted commitment towards the peace process and explained that it is for this that Tokheho Yepthomi, a political leader with vast experience and capabilities who has climbed up from the grassroots level, was unanimously chosen to represent the State in the Lok Sabha. Hoping that crucial developments towards a final solution will take place before the next Lok Sabha elections, Rio said that it was extremely important to have a Lok Sabha representative particularly during such the period.
Highlighting the decisions and policies of the PDA Government within the last two months after coming to power, the Chief Minister further spelt out his Government’s priorities such as promotion of sports, preservation of wildlife and environment, all round development etc. He reiterated the Government’s decision to ban VIP and chief guest culture and discouraged the practice of hunting wild birds and animals for feasting/presentation to visiting VVIPs.
Taking a dig at the Opposition, the Chief Minister recalled that when he along with other like-minded leaders launched the NPF in 2002, late Vizol was chosen as the President. During that time, TR Zeliang was a Congress MLA. He said that the present NPF president not only got the erstwhile NPC derecognized during his presidentship, but further abandoned the party to contest the 1999 Lok Sabha elections as an Independent candidate with the Bus symbol.
“I want to remind you that late Uncle Vizol was the first President of the NPF. But now the NPF party president and its Leader are behaving like they own the party,” Rio stated and added that inspite of his many attempts to strengthen the party, he was instead suspended and expelled. Therefore, he decided to leave the NPF since there was no place for him in the party which he had built up over the last 15 years along with other leaders. The Chief Minister claimed that under his leadership, the NPF sailed to power for three consecutive terms but after he decided to go to Delhi as MP (Lok Sabha), the successive leadership ‘misused’ the mandate of the people.
Rio further alleged that the NPF was engaging in double-speak by branding the BJP as anti-Christian and communal without considering the fact that the NPF party had been in alliance with the BJP for the last 15 years. He stated that the BJP which chose the NDPP as its ally spoke volumes of the lack of confidence upon the NPF leadership and therefore urged upon the people not to be misled by the propaganda of the NPF.
The Chief minister expressed his gratitude to all the partners of the PDA and appealed to the people to vote for peace, development, and a better Nagaland by voting in favour of Tokheho Yepthomi.
PDA consensus candidate, Tokheho Yepthomi in his addresses stated that whoever goes to Parliament, will be representing the Nagas and said that it was important to understand this responsibility. Recalling how the previous Government was riddled with crises and instability, Tokheho stated that the present Government would be stable and decisive. He said this was necessary to ensure proper coordination and cohesion between the State Government and the MP (Lok Sabha). He expressed confidence in the experience and leadership of the Chief Minister and said he accepted the responsibility to contest in the ensuing bye-elections with humility in the interest of the people.
Expressing his views on the importance of resolving the decades old Naga political issue, Tokheho stated that it would be his top most priority in line with the PDA Government’s policies and directives and that he would do everything in his capacity to relay the voice of the Nagas in Parliament, if elected. He therefore appealed to the people to cast their valuable votes for the betterment of the State and the people.
Deputy Chief Minister Y. Patton slammed the previous Government for instability and assured that this time, under the leadership of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Nagas will witness good governance under a stable Government. Dismissing the propaganda of the opposition parties that BJP is a communal and anti-Christian party, Patton ridiculed such allegations and reiterated that the BJP is purely a political party. He expressed full confidence that the PDA candidate will perform well in Parliament.
Minister G. Kaito Aye stated that an era of stability and good governance had dawned on Nagaland under the dynamic leadership of four-time Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and appealed to the people to give an opportunity to the PDA candidate in order to strengthen the Government and raise the collective voice of the Nagas in Parliament.
Other leaders who spoke at the programmes included Ministers Imna Along and Tongpang Ozukum; Imnatiba, Advisor; Chingwang Konyak, NDPP President; Visasolie Lhoungu, President of BJP Nagaland State Unit etc.
It may be reminded that the by-poll to the lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland will be held on May 28. The poll battle will witness a straight fight between the NDPP and NPF.