NPF not threatened by newly formed DPP, says party leaders
Kohima, May 18 (EMN): A day after the formation of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was announced and with speculations rife that several legislators of the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) could jump ship to join the new party, the NPF today asserted that its leadership was intact and the party was unfazed by the recent political developments in the State.
Although NPF party leaders denied of being threatened in any way by the formation of the DPP, they are clearly rattled as they straight away got down to criticising the newly floated party unprovoked, while addressing a hurriedly convened press conference Thursday evening at Hotel Japfü Kohima.
According to NPF spokesman Achumbemo Kikon, the party was “least bothered” by the formation of the DPP as NPF is a people-based party and formation of any new political parties hardly threatens the party.
“In fact, this new formation (DPP) has indirectly strengthened and consolidated the NPF,” he claimed. He remarked that ever since the NPF faced internal crisis in 2015, there were minor hiccups within the party even after the party initiated a process of reconciliation. As with any political party, he said, there had been some disgruntled elements and some of them have been pitching for a new party, which has finally happened. He, however, took it on a positive note, saying the act was “automatically filtering” the party.
“They thought people would make it a big drama or issue out of the new formation, but we could see the reaction of the people. There is hardly any taker,” Kikon said, adding that it would hardly affect the NPF.
Meanwhile, the NPF spokesman alleged that Lok Sabha MP, Neiphiu Rio, who is currently under suspension from the party, was instrumental in forming the DPP.
“We know for sure that this formation (DPP), none other than our ex-CM and present honourable MP is behind the screen,” Kikon asserted.
He cited the example of the Asom Gana Parishad (Progressive) which was floated by a former chief minister of Assam, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta in 2005 after a fallout in the original AGP. He recalled that in the end, Mahanta was the lone sitting MLA, who returned from the new party.
Kikon is of the view that using the term “progressive” in the nomenclature of a party has “bad omen” and he is doubtful that any of the elected members or any aspirant candidate would vie for DPP tickets in the forthcoming State elections.
When asked about the suspension of MP Rio from the NPF and why the party was yet to expel him if they were sure of his political activities against the party constitution, Kikon said the party has its reasons. He lightly stated that for the time being, suspension served the party’s purpose better than expulsion, but refused to elaborate further.
The party spokesman instead reverted to the looming assembly elections and said the people would see a lot of political parties mushrooming, but ultimately it is only NPF which will sustain and which will continue to speak for the cause of the Nagas and the Naga political issue. He asserted that all the new political parties would fizzle out after the elections as was the case of many new parties in the history of the State politics, and any winning candidate from those parties would “come looking for NPF” to form the next government, he added.
Kikon also flayed the recent statements made by the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) in the media that there was division in the NPF. “There is no such NPF (Right) or NPF (Left), NPF is only one that is led by Dr. Shürhozielie Liezietsu… These statements of the NPCC are just figments of imagination. They are totally false. They have no issue to raise against the NPF as well as the present government, therefore, they want to mislead the people,” he stated.
“Congress is a gone case, there is no challenger. There is no political party who can challenge the NPF and it is only NPF whom the people can rely on. NPF will come back and the smaller parties, who are trying to contest in the next elections, would come looking for NPF to be a part of the government,” Kikon added and exuded confidence that NPF would come back to power in 2018.
NPF vice president, Zaku Tsukru, who was also present during the press conference, said there had been a lot of talk about the coming of “the new party” as though it would greatly impact the NPF. “But after it was announced yesterday, we found relief because we found those people who organised the party are none other than those who have not been able to find a platform so far,” he pointed out. He also maintained that majority of the members of the new party were not from NPF, stating, “Only two or three persons from NPF joined them.”
On the aims and objectives declared by the DPP, Tsukru said there was no new idea and that they contained similar phrases of other parties.
“These are, we found that, only/mostly desperadoes, who have been trying to contest in the elections but could not get tickets if they remained with any other party, so they formed a new party, that’s all,” he said. He stressed that it does not have any impact on the NPF and is unlikely to damage the prospect of the party.
When asked about the apparent absence of Rio during the launching of DPP, the NPF leader, while stating that there was suspicion that Rio was behind the formation of the new party, however admitted that “it appeared” he was not very actively involved. While not ruling out the MP’s involvement, Tsukru said he (Rio) would not have chosen the line up announced by the party had he been actively instrumental in the formation of the party.
On the other hand, NPF Farmers’ Wing president Lanukaba, while not naming names, stated that if two cocks were kept in one cage, they would keep fighting, so the party is happy that one has run away.
On the names of NPF legislators that are doing the rounds in social media as those expected to join the DPP, Kikon replied that proof is needed as the party could not act on allegations alone. He said he was in contact with “friends” adding it appeared that some are simply being implicated. “Everything needs to be crosschecked and confirmed before we resort to any kind of action,” he added, while also reminding that the 10th Schedule of the Constitution is clear that any elected member leaving the party voluntarily without resigning from it would attract disqualification.
He also wondered why people were trying to create apprehensions that NPF is unstable when “everybody is actually fighting for NPF ticket”.
On fielding women candidates in the State elections, the party leaders said the doors were open for women to vie for NPF tickets.
On the possibility of the BJP to change its alliance partners after the elections, Kikon said the NPF would remain true to the pre-poll alliance with BJP but it is open for the latter to decide whom to side with, when the time comes. For now, he said, the two parties are in an alliance and no individual could do anything to break that alliance. He also opined that the BJP was unlikely to jump ship to join a nascent party which was formed “just yesterday.”