NPF hopeful of Outer Manipur
Says was not prepared for Arunachal Assembly polls
KOHIMA, MAY 11
THE Naga People’s Front (NPF) is hopeful of winning the Outer Manipur Parliamentary seat, but expecting opening of account in the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly elections. Elections in both states were held on April 9 last.
Talking to this correspondent, NPF president Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu said, “We are hopeful of winning the Outer Manipur seat,” while confidently stating “so this time will be the first time for our party to send two MPs to Parliament”.
NPF is contesting for the first time in Manipur parliamentary elections and fielded former minister Soso Lorho in the Outer Manipur Parliamentary seat. The other being Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. The NPF is expecting to win the Nagaland seat with a ‘good result’.
Formally launching the party in April 2011, NPF contested the 10th Manipur Assembly elections with 12 candidates in Naga-inhabited hill districts of Manipur and opened the account winning four seats.
Dr. Shürhozelie said the Party can improve in Manipur but first of all we have to cover the hill areas. “I have told them (NPF Manipur Unit) that earlier also they had 20 seats and for the last 40 years all the seats have been represented by the hills people. But going to the Manipur assembly, they become strangers as they belong to one or other political parties.”
Now, NPF is providing the platform and they can make themselves strong in the Manipur assembly and make their voice heard to bring development to the hill areas, he asserted adding that the NPF leaders are even having talks with Kuki leaders in Manipur and Nagaland also to garner support and work together in Manipur.
Nevertheless, talking of Arunachal Pradesh assembly elections, the NPF president said “we (NPF) don’t have much hope”.
“The AP state election came so abruptly,” he said adding “we were in fact preparing ourselves (for the assembly elections in AP) but we thought it will come as scheduled somewhere in October and so we could not make proper preparation”.
“We have set up 11 candidates, and if lucky we may retain one or two only,” he said. NPF fielded four candidates in Naga-dominated constituencies while seven are in constituencies spread over Itanagar.
Maintaining that it was hurriedly done for this election, he said “since we have already entered, we will do our best as we cannot just give up though it may take some time”.
In order to perform better in AP, Dr. Shürhozelie said “we have to launch the party officially and also resolve the opposition raised by SUMA (Students’ Union Movement of Arunachal).”
SUMA had alleged that the NPF has close ties with NSCN (I-M) and its presence in the state (AP) would lead to a tribal unrest and exert political influence through “militant power”.
However, the NPF while clarifying that NPF and NSCN (I-M) are different had said that “Ours (NPF) is a recognised political party and when there are takers, we can go to any part of the country.”