Will Resolve Naga Issue If Elected, Congress Leader Surjewala Assures At Dimapur Rally - Eastern Mirror
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India, Nagaland

Will resolve Naga issue if elected, Congress leader Surjewala assures at Dimapur rally

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By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Apr 16, 2024 11:57 pm
Congress
Congress leaders at the public rally in Dimapur on Tuesday. (EM Images)

DIMAPUR — Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala on Tuesday said that the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc will resolve the Naga political issue if voted to power at the centre.

It was earlier informed that President of the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Mallikarjun Kharge would address the rally but he could not make it reportedly due to medical issues.

Speaking at a public rally in support of the party’s candidate, S Supongmeren Jamir, in Dimapur, the AICC general secretary Surjewala said that efforts to bring about a solution to the Naga political issue began in the 1990s and went through many prime ministers, including Congress prime ministers.

In 2015, the Framework Agreement was signed but even after the passage of nine years, nothing has happened, he said, adding that the content of the agreement still remains a secret.

Questioning why the Framework Agreement has not been implemented yet, Surjewala claimed that it has become a ‘jumla of Modi.’

He went on to say that the Congress, under Rajiv Gandhi, signed the Assam, Mizoram and Punjab accords, and questioned why the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has not only the entire state assembly but also the Parliament and the council of ministers, cannot find a solution to the problem of the Naga people.

“If the people of Nagaland send Jamir to the Parliament, we will resolve the Naga issue to your satisfaction,” he said.

The Congress leader also took a jibe at the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) for failing to deliver its ‘election for solution’ promise made in the 2023 assembly election.

The NDPP stands for ‘no direction propaganda party’ and BJP stands for ‘Bahut Jhoothi Party’, he said, adding that their combination is a ‘recipe for doom’.

Surjewala asserted that the Congress implemented Article 371 (A) of the Constitution which guarantees protection to the Naga way of life, while the BJP wants to change the Constitution.

He said that the India’s constitutional ethos, such as pluralism, diversity and secularism are under attack by the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and that it is everyone’s responsibility to rise in unison and say that the country will not be divided by this ‘sinister design’.

The BJP, with its allies, are propagating, “a culture of hate and division, attacking ethnic diversity and identity, cultures and subcultures of millions of Indians, and this is emanating from the attack on India’s constitution,” he said.

Furthermore, Surjewala said that several BJP candidates in other parts of the country including union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde have been saying, during their campaigns, that they will change the constitution if they come to power again.

On the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), which the BJP promises to implement in its manifesto, he said it cannot be imposed and it has to go through process of dialogue and discussion till there is complete agreement from every quarter.

“There were two models in India today — one is the BJP and NDPP model which is to dictate, impose, force, intimidate; and the Congress model is compassion, love, dialogue, listen and find a solution,” he claimed.

Among others, he also highlighted the Centre’s decision to abolish the Free Movement Regime (FMR) with Myanmar, stating that such decisions were taken arbitrarily without the consent of the people. He said that neither the state chief minister nor the PDA candidate, Dr. Chumben Murry can raise their voice against the BJP’s policies on behalf of the Naga people.

He also underscored the ‘syndicate system’ operating in Nagaland and said that there has to be accountability for the extortion, corruption and price mark-up of various commodities in the state.

Further, there are 70,442 people registered in the unemployment exchanges in this small state and for every 50 government jobs, there are at least 14,000 applicants who do not get the job even after writing exams, because the ‘government only believes in backdoor entry,’ he alleged.

Calling for unity among the people to defeat the PDA candidate, Jamir emphasised the need for the Nagas to protect their rights, religion, culture, and customs, while also upholding democratic principles and minority interests.

He said that the ongoing discourse about religion stems from concerns that the BJP is actively undermining the religious beliefs and practices of minorities. However, chief minister Neiphiu Rio and his deputy chief ministers, TR Zeliang and Y Patton, have been downplaying the BJP’s role in these matters.

He also referred to the recent viral video of Y Patton, where the latter was seen suggesting that council chairmen, Gaon Buras (GBs), and polling agents cast multiple votes, and accused Patton of disrespecting the roles and responsibilities of GBs, village councils, youth, and polling agents in the electoral process.

Jamir went on to state that if elected, he would represent the collective voice of over 20 lakh Nagas in the Parliament, and relentlessly advocate for the Naga cause till it is resolved.

In this regard, he urged the AICC general secretary to prioritise the 2015 Framework Agreement, the 2017 Agreed Position, and the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) issues if the INDIA bloc comes to power at the Centre.

Further, Jamir outlined a vision for Nagaland under a Congress-led government, including elevating Nagaland University into a hub for Christian education and cross-cultural studies. He said that the party would also work towards promoting and preserving Naga languages through dictionary publication, documentation of traditional knowledge, and cultural initiatives, in addition to increasing agricultural productivity, establishing post-harvest facilities, and implementing an integrated agricultural policy based on local knowledge and practices.

Stating that there are over 33,000 ex-servicemen in Nagaland, he also assured to reinstate the old pension system in the state.

The rally also featured a speech by Joel Naga, president of the Rising People’s Party, which had pledged to support the Congress candidate.

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By Purnungba Longkumer Updated: Apr 16, 2024 11:57:18 pm
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