Civil orgs. meet with NPF, NPP and AAP; BJP skips meeting again
Kohima, Jan. 27 (EMN): The core committee of the Nagaland Tribal Hohos and Civil Organisations (CCNTHCO) held a joint meeting with the Naga People’s Front (NPF), and the Nagaland units of the National People’s Party (NPP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at Hotel Japfü in Kohima on Jan. 27 to discuss matter related to the demand of Naga Civil Society for a ‘solution before election.’
The NPF’s president, Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu, expressed solidarity with the call of the organizations for a solution before election. Nonetheless, he emphasized on the need for the party to carefully analyze the situation but also prepare to face elections due on Feb. 27. He recalled that while all the political parties including the NPF had heeded to the call of the Naga Hoho in 1998 to abstain from participating in the state’s elections, the state’s Congress party had gone against it and swept the seats to subsequently form the government.
Liezietsu said that the NPF party had ‘suffered the most’ during that time with the Election Commission of India (ECI) derecognizing the party for not participating in the election. The party’s symbol was also frozen.
Further, he said that the negotiating Naga group had also failed to show any courtesy by meeting the party leaders to convey their solidarity. It also ‘failed miserably’ by giving the formation of government in the state as a free gift to those who were in power at the Centre then, he added.
“This time we want to be more careful. We want to analyze the situation. Although we are in full support to the cause, we must analyze the situation,” the NPF leader said. He said that the party does not want to take the risk and would carry on full preparations to face the elections.
“We will not repeat the mistake that we have committed in 1998,” he said and expressed hope that in such an event the Naga people would understand his position. He made it clear that if all the political parties including the BJP agree to abstain from participating in the election, the NPF would join even at the eleventh hour.
Liezietsu expressed reservations that in the event the election is deferred, how soon would the Naga people expect settlement as the tenure of the 12th house would expire on Mar. 12; if a solution does not come until then, there will be President’s Rule.
The NPF as a party would gear up for elections ‘to keep the situation on the safe side,’ the NPF leader said. He candidly informed the house that his party will select candidates and issue tickets if necessary and keep everything ready to face the elections ‘but when Naga organizations and political parties do not fail the people, the NPF will not fail the people on its part either.’
Supplementing to NPF president’s assertion, NPF legislator Yitachu also stressed on the need for all to analyse all possible consequences before taking a decision. “Whatever step we take, it should not put us (Nagas) in kind of disadvantage,” he said. He expressed dismay that some people were alleging that the present situation was the outcome of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly resolution of Dec. 15. What the assembly could not achieve on its own, he explained, it had adopted and passed a resolution and informed the central government and the ECI about it, asking them not to announce the general elections to the 13th NLA until the government of India arrives at an acceptable solution to the Naga political issue.
Interestingly, the MLA implied that the assembly was advised to pass stated resolution: “In fact we should thank those who are at the helms of affairs in the government of India for asking us to pass such a resolution in the assembly and bring it up so that election can be deferred and give us something. Such a strong-worded resolution in the assembly, in a normal situation, the moment it is passed, President’s Rule would have been declared. We did pass it and the government of India cannot deny us because they said to pass…. We should take it in a more positive way,” Yitachu said.
In other matters, the state’s NPP unit has communicated that the party stands with the Naga people ‘in letter and in spirit’ when it comes to a peaceful solution to the Naga political issue. “The NPP though being a national party, has a mandate to highlight and work for various tribal issues across the country, and we believe for an honourable settlement of the Naga issue. If there is a general consensus among the Naga people and the various political parties regardless of ideological differences come to a common understanding then the NPP as a people’s party will be obligated to join the mainstream consensus,” Katoho Sukhalu, a vice president of the party’s youth wing read out.
However, the NPP unit’s executive member Viccashe Sumi made it clear that in the event of a consensus, leaders of all the political parties, tribal and apex bodies and the Naga ‘political’ groups should ‘come together’ at one table and sign on one paper their undertaking.
The Nagaland unit of the AAP also put across a similar sentiment that it fully supported ‘solution before election,’ but felt that all the stakeholders must take lessons from the past and arrive at a decision sincerely. The AAP unit’s advisor Sushil Kumar said that the party may not be able to do much in Nagaland but in view of the need to rouse Delhi, he said that the AAP had a strong presence in country’s capital.
A similar meeting was held on Jan. 25 where representatives of the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC), JD (U), Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Nagaland Congress (Nagaland Reformation Party) had attended.
Sat.’s meeting was convened as the NPF, BJP, NPP and AAP failed to turn up in the previous meeting. Yet, the BJP failed to attend the meeting again, which did not go without raising a few brows.
When contacted, a BJP official said that the party’s president Visasolie Lhoungu and Convener Dr. M Chuba were in Delhi. Another source said that the person entrusted by the party to attend the joint meeting had to skip the meeting due to a funeral.
“But it is confirmed that the party will stand with the consensus wish and decision of the people,” he added.
In a separate statement that was issued on Sat. evening, the CCNTHCO thanked all the political parties ‘for showing their magnanimity in whole-heartedly supporting the popular wishes of the people on solution before election as per the consultative meetings held between the political parties and CCNTHCO.’
“In short, the political parties in accordance with the wishes of the people will not file nominations. The CCNTHCO also knows the magnitude of the adverse ramifications on the ongoing negotiations if the state assembly election is held simultaneously at the moment. It is therefore not at all advisable to allow the process of election at the cost of solution which is expected soon after many anxious years.
“The CCNTHCO further convenes a joint meeting of all national and regional political parties and negotiating teams (NSCN-IM and NNPGs Working Committee) on ‘Solution before Election’ at Hotel Japfu, Kohima on 29th of January, 2018 at 11am,” it stated.