Thursday, July 07, 2022
image
Op-Ed

Speech of Mr. Thenucho on 22nd May 2015

1
By EMN Updated: May 24, 2016 11:59 pm
A A A

OUR gathering here today is very significant and historic. Such a big gathering and yet we are not here for celebration of some festival or achievement. We are all gathered here, I believe, because we can’t remain silent to the call of our political duty, yes, the duty of each and every citizen of our country. We are disturbed by the manner in which politics is evolving in our Naga society. Politics is a power game, no doubt but power is used for achieving greatness. However, we are witness to the fact that power is being misused in our context. We are gathered here because we love our people and that there is more to politics than what we are seeing and experiencing today. 
The political consciousness of every Naga needs to be awakened, not only for a better government at the state level but also and more importantly for pursuing our national aspiration. We have seen enough confusion and division and experienced enough pain. We must restore and put politics in its rightful place so as to harness its power to serve the common interest of our people. 



Today, whether we like it or not the state of Nagaland is a reality and it cannot be wished away. What I am saying or implying is that we all have a role to play in politics as responsible and patriotic Nagas towards finding an honourable and acceptable solution to the Indo-Naga political issue. We all cannot be full time national workers no matter how much we love our nation. But we are all part of the national movement. There is place for each one of us in politics and this we cannot afford to ignore anymore. I am reminded of what A. Kevichusa, the first president of DPN remarked when statehood was given to Nagaland: “Let us try to make the best use of the bad bargain”. It was with this spirit and vision that the regional political party in Nagaland, the Democratic Party of Nagaland was born. Democratic Party of Nagaland was the first regional party in the entire North Eastern region. However it should be noted that the priority of the regional party in Nagaland was not to enjoy power or to rule the people. On the contrary, the founders of DPN were so pained and burdened by the suffering of our people that it decided to fight for the cause of our people in a democratic manner through non-violence, in a democratic space created by the formation of statehood. That is the reason behind the motto of DPN: FIDE NON ARMIS, meaning “By faith, not by arms” which still remains the motto of NPF. 
Against this backdrop, the difference between the two broad political parties in Nagaland can be clearly seen. The congress, including its forerunner NNO (Naga National Organization), has always opposed the Naga national issue.  They joined the Indian media and intelligentsia in propagating that Phizo and NNC were misleading the Naga people, that they were misguided. As such it has always been their motive to form the government to finish or dismiss the Naga national movement. Projecting themselves as the masters of the Nagas, they have been constantly negotiating with Delhi for more and more power. In other words, to enjoy power is their sole motive. In contrast, the regional party never joined the state politics to run the government. It was never their motive to enjoy power but their primary aim is to solve the Naga political issue. Let me spell out the first aim and objective of NPF, for instance:“To work and assist in any possible manner on any approach for a peaceful solution of the Indo-Naga political issue.”  
The regional party has never projected itself as the champion of the Naga national issue. On the contrary, it has always worked to pave the way or to assist in resolving the Indo-Naga issue. As such, it is always prepared to sacrifice its interest for the sake of the greater interest of the Naga people. It resigned en masse, for instance, in 1964 to pave the way for peace talk. Again in 1998, in response to the call of the Naga public, it boycotted the general election on the slogan -“solution, not election”. 
After boycotting the 1998 general election, the congress was in power. The regional party was in a very bad shape. Dr. Shurhozelie had to resign from the party, including his presidential post in 1999 and contested in the parliamentary election as an independent candidate.At that time when Congress was at its peak in the state politics, Rio and some of his friends had serious differences with Mr. Jamir on the issue of the publication of the BEDROCK OF NAGA SOCIETY. Rio, who was the then Home Minister, (the number one cabinet),resigned to explore alternative way of addressing the Naga politics. He and his friends had a series of deliberations with the NPC which resulted in the formation of the NPF. The NPF as a regional party was greatly strengthened with the entry of Mr. Rio and his friends. Under the collective leadership of Mr Rio and Vizol (the then President of NPF where I was one of the two working President of the party), NPF succeeded in forming the government in 2003. Rio as the Chief Minister and I as the Home Minister worked closely to initiate peace and reconciliation and with the support of the Naga Shisha Hoho, the FNR, the Churches, NGOs and the Civil Societies normalcy was restored in our state.
Mr. Neiphiu Rio decided to give up his political career in the state as a Chief Minister in order to take the Naga national issue to the higher level for a more effective deliberation and to seek an early solution, went on to become an MP in the Lok Sabha. Has any CM of any state given up his or her office just to raise some issue in the parliament? But our honourable MP, Rio did. Despite his sacrificial initiative for the cause of the Nagas, the party has left him on his own. This is like sending an army general into the warfront without any back up plan or without any military back up. Is this not a case of betrayal? Has the party not done injustice to him? It ought to be noted that the party is subservient to the interest of the Nagas. This is plainly stated in the constitution of the party. Even if the party has issues with him, it ought to respect the will and mandate of the people who elected him to represent our voice in parliament. By not giving him any support, the present NPF leadership has conspired to betray the trust and goodwill of the people.
And that is not enough. It has suspended the membership of Rio. Does his action in any way contradict the aim and objective of the NPF or the interest of the Naga people? Doubtful. Rather what the present NPF leadership has done by way welcoming every and any MLAs into its fold, without any consideration of their past or their future prospects, is dubitable and questionable. The three NCP MLAs who merged with the BJP earlier were disqualified while the 8 Congress MLAS who joined NPF were whole-heartedly welcomed. This action clearly shows that there is a tacit understanding between the present NPF leaders and the Congress party. 
In my considered opinion, NPF has compromised with its original commitments and principles to work for the Nagas.Any sensible person will understand the motive of the NPF. Did any of the Congress defectors at any point of time make any public statements saying that they have joined NPF because the ideologies of the NPF are correct or right or good? Did any of them confess that they left the congress camp because the ideologies and principles of Congress are wrong? I ask the question again. Did anyone of them condemn the actions and ideologies of the Congress? I am afraid not. But the present leadership of NPF has welcomed them as heroes and saviour of NPF. At the same time, it is ready to suspend those who are working hard for the party ideology and the Naga national cause. 
Another matter of grave importance needs to be mentioned. In the gathering of thousands of party workers, the President of NPF announced reconciliation amongst the party, the background of which is familiar to any of us to recall here. However it is a sad fact to see that despite this official and public announcement, the president and his colleagues are working to increase the line of division within its own party. It continues to discriminate and marginalize those who do not always share the same view as the President. Though it is calling for peace and reconciliation, the NPF party seems to be doing everything that goes against the spirit of peace and reconciliation, against integrity and unity of our people.With what integrity and face is the present leadership of NPF talking about peace and unity and integrity of the Nagas?
Coming back to the suspension of Rio, I believe that NPF, despite its commitment to work for the benefit of the people, has gone against the mandate and interest of the people by their action against Rio. The people have voted him to power so that he can represent our voice in this critical make-it or break-it juncture. When he is sincerely doing what he can at the national level, the NPF leadership by suspending him has undermined the right of the electorates in the state of Nagaland. Remember NPF alone did not elect Rio but by the people of the state. They cannot underminethe voice of the people. To do so is tantamount to derailing the Indo-Naga peace process. Mr. Rio is the only person amongst us today who can talk in the Lok Sabha for us. As such, this action of NPF is akin to what Jamir did to sabotage the peace talk in 1963. When on 19th March, 1963, Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, made a statement in Parliament to meet Phizo S. C. Jamir strongly objected. And now when Rio has located himself in the right platform to raise the Naga issue at the highest level, the NPF leadership is doing everything to sabotage and derail the peace process.
My dear Naga brothers and sisters, Remember  Mr. Rio is the only person who carries the mandate of our people in Lok Sabha. 
 

1
By EMN Updated: May 24, 2016 11:59:21 pm