Rio : Cong staggered Naga issue solution
DIMAPUR, MARCH 27
The Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) consensus candidate, Neiphiu Rio launched his campaign for the coming Lok Sabha elections at the DDSC stadium, Dimapur on Thursday. His debut address as a Lok Sabha candidate saw him describe the Congress’s handling of the Naga political issue, as ‘reluctant’. The issue Rio has earlier stated is the primary reason for him contesting the Lok Sabha election. Interestingly none of the speakers at the rally, including Rio and his party chief Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu, made a single reference to the other candidate from Socialist Party (India) Akhie Achumi who is also contesting the LS elections. The triangular contest already appears to have been reduced to a straight slug-fest between the arch-rivals NPF and Congress. Neiphiu Rio, who is also the convener of the North East Regional Parties Forum which is a conglomeration of 11 regional parties of the NE, ridiculed the Congress party in Nagaland by saying that their only contribution to the State has been in the form of President’s Rule. That too, thrice in succession.
“Every time a regional party (read NPF) comes to power in Nagaland, the reaction from the Congress is to impose President‘s Rule in the state,” Rio told a packed DDSC stadium who had came to attend his maiden LS elections campaign.
This tendency of the Congress to suppress regional parties was not restricted to Nagaland only, according to Rio. “This is the reason why there are so many strong regional parties coning up today in India.”
The logic, he said, was that the regional parties place the welfare of the particular state above all else while a national party like Congress has to balance between the demands of the people and of those in Delhi .
The successive imposition of President’s Rule in Nagaland was a clear indication that the Congress, in effect, works not in the interest of the minority or the democratic principles of the country but solely “in the interest of the Congress”, the Chief Minister said.
Such policy of the Congress had also forced the formation of the North East Regional Parties Forum (NERPF), Rio suggested. Even the Look East Policy, introduced by the government of India, has now taken political colors. According to Rio, railway lines as well as roadways in the form of Super National Highways which were intended to pass through Nagaland have now been diverted to neighboring states of Assam and Manipur. Needless to say, both the states are ruled by the Congress.
There is an attempt to “isolate and starve” the people of Nagaland through such handiworks of Congress-ruled governments, Rio said. Against such a scenario, Rio said, time has come for the people of the North East to learn how to exist side by side.
The NE states, as individual governments and entities, are too small and insignificant to impact the balance of power. “That is why we have formed the NERPF to create power bloc to represent the whole Northeast.”
The NERPF has pledged support to the BJP-led NDA in lieu of which Rio is expected to be allotted with a cabinet berth in the event of the NDA coming to power in Delhi.
Rio repeated his earlier announcement that he had decided to contest the LS polls in order to address the Naga political issue “at a higher level.” Since 1964, the year when the NPF – albeit by another name – was formed, the party has had clear principles, primary among which is the Naga political issue, Rio said.
“And even today, we say that we are ready to pave way for a solution,” he said while narrating the events that occurred during the formation of CCP and JLF. The Congress legislators had even quarreled among themselves in the floor of the assembly while discussing the possibility of the JLF members standing down in order to pave way for solution prior to the state assembly lections, he disclosed.
Even the financial package for Nagaland introduced by the former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was ‘blocked” by the Congress soon as it came to power in Delhi, Rio said.
“Those who want solution to the Naga political issue as well as peace and development in the Northeast can vote for me while those who want President’s Rule can vote for Congress,” Rio said in his final swipe at the Congress. “I give my commitment that as long as I am there, I shall work and give my life for the Nagas.”
Co-convener of NERPF and working president of Asom Gana Parishad, Atul Bora, BJP MP from Assam, Bijoya Chakraborty, Nationalist Congress Party (Nagaland Unit) president Imtilemba Sangtam, Independent MLA Thomas Lotha and JDU (Nagaland) president Mhonjan Lotha also expressed their support to Rio at the rally.