Entire political crisis creation of TR & Shürholzelie: Neiphiu Rio
Kohima, February 5
Three-time Chief Minister of Nagaland and sitting Member of Lok Sabha, Neiphiu Rio reiterating his support to Noke and Kaito-led NPF to form the new government in the State, today lambasted that the entire crisis within the party is the creation of then NPF president Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu and Chief Minister TR Zeliang. Replying to media-persons during a press conference at Hotel Vivor here this evening, Rio alleged that the entire movement gained momentum because of the then president Dr. Shürhozelie becoming ‘autocratic’ and his doors for the aggrieved legislators were closed, despite they approached him for discussions.
He said that the 22 NPF legislators withdrawing their support from TR Zeliang’s leadership had sent Rajya Sabha MP Kehkiho Zhimomi to meet the then president Dr. Shürhozelie to ask for time for discussion with Kaito group but the president met Khekiho only on the second morning along with former MPs Imchalemba and Chingwang Konyak.
After the three expressed about the issue, Shürhozelie had informed them that he would think over, but never did so and rather he immediately suspended seven of the legislators from the party. Shürhozelie became ‘autocratic’ and therefore the matter went out of hand, stated Rio.
On the 21 NPF legislators not attending the NPF and DAN Legislature Party meetings called by TR Zeliang, Rio said TR Zeliang was heading a minority government and he summoning the meetings was not right but it should have been the president (Shürhozelie) who should have called both the groups and sort out the difference. But it never happened as Shürhozelie refused to meet Kaito group, Rio added.
The entire crisis is the creation of then NPF president and TR Zeliang, Rio accused while stating that the differences within the NPF legislators had started during the transition period after his election to Lok Sabha, formation of government under TR Zeliang’s leadership and then distribution of portfolios etc.
Rio said that even during the change of leadership after his election to Lok Sabha, no meeting was held for replacement but it was the then NPF president constituting a core committee while also calling the legislators to his house and conducting signature campaign in favour of TR Zeliang.
Revealing that his proposal was in favour of Noke Wangnao, which was also initially accepted by Shürhozelie, Rio revealed but the decision was changed by the president without his knowledge. “Nonetheless, I requested Noke to withdraw because we wanted a smooth transition, to which Noke accepted with a condition to maintain status quo but it was never done”, he said.
Explaining on the need for Kaito group to approach the Governor on the issue, Rio said, “Since the doors of the president (Shurhozelie) was closed and never opened for the Kaito group, they had to meet the Governor”.
Asked about the allegations that he has been masterminding the episode as he wants to return to state politics as he has not been allocated with any portfolio in the Central government, Rio said, “ It is the thinking of the people, and if I am given a portfolio I will not reject but I don’t have any regrets even if I am not being given any portfolio as I have been appointed into various committees in the Central government.”
“I have no regrets as there has to be a known face in Delhi to speak for the Nagas,” he reiterated while saying, “I am comfortable and happy representing Nagas. If I am required will work for the people but will not interfere”.
Clarifying the allegations that he was behind the entire issue, Rio justified that as a senior leader of the party, by the time he returned after the New Year celebrations from abroad on January 4, the group of legislators supporting Kaito Aye camping in Sovima approached him for support. “And since they had the majority of legislators, I extended my support,” he claimed.
Rio also said that “if they (TR and Shurhozelie) are blaming me for the crisis, they have the guilty conscience for what they did while I was to leave for Delhi”.
Nonetheless, Rio expressed hope that once the issue awaiting judgment from Election Commission of India is out, the matter will be fully resolved. “We will go by the ECI decision,” he quipped.
Congress and BJP create history
Perhaps, for the first time in the country the BJP and the Congress have voted together for the same government. The Congress which has eight members in the Nagaland Assembly voted in favour of the confidence motion that was moved by the Nagaland chief minister today. The BJP which has 4 members in the House also voted in favour of the government. The BJP is a partner of the Nagaland government under the DAN nomenclature. The DAN is a member of the NDA.
Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party leader Tokheho Yepthomi said, “We (the 8 Congress MLAs) have decided to support the confidence motion by the Chief Minister, TR Zeliang in order to survive the government.”
Although the veteran Congressman rubbished and ruled out any coalition of the Congress with the DAN government saying the Congress and the BJP can never come together, however, he commented that the Congress MLAs voted in favour of the confidence motion moved by the Chief Minister, TR Zeliang “depending on the situation”. He looped his justification in saying that the ongoing Naga political problem could be compromised if the Chief Minister is imposed.