Kohima, Nov. 8 (EMN): The third Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) general convention was held on Thursday at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Kohima on resounding notes of reaffirmation for stability, good governance, inclusive social responsibility and development, and progressive transformation.
NDPP president Chingwang Konyak in his address highlighted how the party was formed in May 2017 when situation in Nagaland became ‘disturbing and distressing’ with the then leadership ‘failing the people.’ Barely 10 months after the NDPP was formed, he reminded, it faced the state assembly election on 40:20 seat sharing alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and delivered an 18:12 victory. On the basis of the party’s performance, and also with the party having fulfilled the conditions laid down in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order 1968 for recognition as a state party, he said the Election Commission of India (ECI) had recognised the NDPP in April this year.
Konyak mentioned that the NDPP had contested in the by-election to the state’s lone Lok Sabha seat three months after the assembly election, and had been triumphant. Towards this end, he acknowledged the electorate for reposing faith in the party leadership and for supporting the party’s ideologies and principles, and also expressed appreciation to the coalition partners for coming together to serve the people of Nagaland under the aegis of the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA).
“Nagaland had been crying out for stability, strong leadership and policy that will change the destiny of the state in a positive manner. The NDPP along with the PDA partners assures stability and firm leadership,” Konyak asserted, stating that in the line of the NDPP motto ‘deeds not words’, the party and its PDA partners were very clear with its development agenda and vision for a new progressive and prosperous Nagaland.
“Nagaland is in dire need of good governance particularly in relation to transparency and accountability…we shall make all efforts at all levels of governance to combat corrupt practices, nepotism and misuse of government machinery for personal gains,” the NDPP president stated.
Also observing that the unresolved Indo-Naga political issue has created hurdles on all fronts, particularly on economic and all round progress of Nagaland, Konyak held the view that without the prevalence of just peace, no aspect of a society can make progress. To this, he stated that the NDPP will not be a mute spectator but be proactive and do everything to strengthen the ongoing peace process.
On the recent rumours about NDPP being on the verge of de-recognition by the ECI, Konyak pointed out that the party’s political opponents were spreading propaganda. He said a woman from the Northern Angami constituency has filed a petition with the ECI requesting it to de-recognise the NDPP.
Konyak wondered if the woman in question did not belong to any political party then what harm has the NDPP done to her. He stated that the party’s political rivals had, ‘without coming up to the front’, put a woman up to file a petition with the ECI. With a single appearance of advocates costing more than INR 30 lac, he said the question now was whether the petitioner was capable of financing such costs. The party president also rubbished the statements made by leaders of the opposition in bids to topple the PDA government. “They don’t realise that they were rejected by the people,” he stated.
NDPP a people’s movement—Rio
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio asserted that the NDPP was a people’s movement with a cadre-based structure, a regional party with distinct regional identity having a national outlook. Although a new party, he said the party had, since inception in 2017, continued to ‘rise and spread its wings’ across the state to its position now as the leading partner of the PDA coalition and a participating and contributing member of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the national level and the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in the region.
Rio attributed the credit to the party’s rank and file, with a particular mention of the primary and active members at the grassroots levels.
“As a regional party based on the foundations of democracy and justice, we represent the voice and aspirations of the people and for us, the ultimate high command of the party are the grassroots,” he stated.
The chief minister reiterated that the top agenda of the NDPP was to continuously strive for the resolution of the Indo-Naga political issue. “We appeal to the negotiating parties of the political dialogue, especially the government of India to expedite the process and bring about an honourable solution that is democratic in nature and is inclusive and acceptable to the people,” Rio said, adding, “On our part, we have to continue to pursue the path of unity and oneness.” Calling upon all sections of the people including mass-based organisations, civil society, tribal organisations, churches, NGOs and the people as a whole to come together, he asserted that only through a spirit of solidarity a smooth transition that allows successful implementation of the accord can be ensured and pave way for all round development of Nagaland.
To this end, he also commended the members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) for reconstituting the Joint Legislators’ Forum under the stewardship of the Speaker Vikho-o Yhoshü, and further expressed hope that fruitful deliberations would contribute towards strengthening of the peace process and realisation of an early solution.
On the policies, objectives and achievements of the NDPP and its coalition partners in the PDA, Rio highlighted that under transparency and good governance, removal of VIP culture and focus on governance and development were being upheld, while all the departments have their websites and social media accounts to make the government more accessible to people. He mentioned that the CM dashboard was launched to give real-time updates about key schemes and programmes, and biometrics attendance was made mandatory to ensure efficiency.
On infrastructure, he said better roads and transport facilities remain the top priority of the PDA government. He also underscored the need to conserve and protect the environment, towards which, he said efforts were being made to declare Nagaland ‘plastic-free’. As an initial step, he informed that one-time use plastics will be removed/banned.
With regard to the introduction of Mini Hornbill Festivals in the district headquarters, the chief minister explained that the promotion of the diverse Naga culture and heritage was of paramount to the government of the day as it promotes brand Nagaland to the global community.
Bringing out the water supply position of the entire state, need to promote sports amongst the youth, students’ welfare and insurance program, releasing of grants-in-aid to village development boards (VDBs) etc. were also highlighted.
With the global economic focus on Asia, Rio stated that India has the highest economic growth rate amongst all the major countries and the coming century has been billed as Asia’s century. “As the global economy competes for opportunities in the ASEAN region, it is the Indian sub-continent that has the best advantage due to the geographical access through the north eastern corridor. Nagaland and the north eastern region lies on a strategic geo-political location…our youth, the present and future generations must be participants and beneficiaries of this new global economy so that they can achieve their aspirations through innovation, creativity and hard work,” he stated, adding that the government will do everything possible to ensure that the Naga people were benefactors of those possibilities. To this end, he underscored the need for all to leave aside affiliations and work for the greater good of the larger Naga family.
On the occasion, the NDPP adopted a ten-point resolution which included an appeal to the centre and the Naga national groups who are in dialogue for a settlement of the protracted Indo-Naga political issue, to expedite the peace process and find an early solution that is democratic, honourable and acceptable to the people; and also asserted its support for integration of all contiguous Naga areas under a single administrative unit.
The party urged upon the state government to focus on the all round development of the state that will ensure accelerated economic growth, create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for the youth, promote upgrade of agriculture and allied sectors and improve overall infrastructure. It also called upon the government to give special focus on the social sector particularly on education and health where significant policy decisions were needed.
While standing up for regional sensitivities, the party stated to make all efforts in positively contributing towards the nation-building process to achieve its declared aspiration of “change is coming” with its unstinted motto ‘Facta non Verba’.
MP Lok Sabha Tokheho Yepthomi also spoke at the event while NDPP working president Alemtemshi Jamir read out a solidarity message from the state BJP president Temjen Imna Along.
Jamir also translated the speech of a member of the audience which was delivered in a local dialect during an open-mic time given to party members in attendance.
Earlier, the gathering observed two minutes of silence in remembrance of the party leaders and members who passed away this year, including MLA Imtikumzuk Longkumer and Tseminyu divisional president K Thong.
NE parties place hope on NDPP for regional unity
Kohima, Nov. 8 (EMN): Politicians from the neighbouring states of Assam and Meghalaya shared that the North East Region (NER) craves for unity, development and peace ‘in the same line and tone.’
Atul Bora, president of Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) and a minister in the Assam government, said Assam and Nagaland have had cordial relations since ‘time immemorial.’
He stated that there are many challenges in both the states and the problems of development are common to both states. Though respective governments have undertaken developmental works, he said, there are still many miles to go ‘in the real sense of the term.’
Bora also cited a ‘common problem’: one where Naga people have been fighting for existence and identity for a long time, while on the other hand, Assam has been burdened with ‘illegal immigrants’, and fighting the menace since 1979.
“NER is contributing towards nation building process and the fact also remain that NER is faced with various political, economic and social challenges including developments,” stated Bora. He advocated the need to find solution to all problems and ‘that all political parties must work in a cohesive and coordinated manner to find the path to all around development of the Northeastern states as a whole.’
Appreciating chief minister Neiphiu Rio as a ‘great son of this land’, Bora said Rio is one of the few politicians from the region leading from the front not only for his own state but also for the entire northeastern region.
He expressed hope that NDPP with a regional spirit and national outlook would be the torchbearer for all round development of all northeastern states.
Stating that NER as a whole is craving for unity, development, and peace in the same line and tone, Dr. Jemino Mawthoh, the general secretary of United Democratic Party (UDP), Meghalaya and co-chairman of Meghalaya State Planning Board said, the Northeast states also share common problems and challenges because they belong to the same entity and share lots of common history.
Just as much as the people of Nagaland are hungry for stability, leadership and development, Mawthoh said, the other states from the region are hungry for the same.
As NER occupies a ‘unique important position’ as far as politics is concerned, he asserted that it is time for the people of the NE states to go a little deeper into the problems that have plagued the Northeast for a long time.
On a positive note, he pointed out that in spite of the problems, constraints, and challenges, there is so much potential in the entire NER with rich diversity and ‘hidden treasures.’
Towards this end, he said, it is important for the people to come together and look for better coordination between the different states.
Describing Rio as a tall leader well known not only in the NE region but across the country, he said Nagaland is blessed to have a leader of ‘such magnanimity.’
Extending full support to the PDA government towards a stable government, Minister for Agriculture and Cooperation, G Kaito Aye stated that though the government might have not completely fulfilled the wishes and desires of the people, there has been certain changes in the past few months.
Reminding that JD (U) has extended support to the alliance with the hope that this government can bring certain changes in all round development activities, Aye reiterated that as promised to the people in its Common Minimum Programme, the present government must put all efforts and ‘pursue the Indo-Naga political issue to a final settlement.’
Also speaking on the occasion, National People’s Party (NPP) Nagaland president, Ato Yepthomi affirmed support and solidarity to the PDA government and its commitment for a stable government. NNP, he said, respect the mandate of the people and assured full support and cooperation to the government towards collectively serving the people of the state.
Minister for PWD, Tongpang Ozukum advocated the need to work as a team ‘to deliver goods and services as promised to the people of the state.’ While decrying those claiming the coalition government as ‘confused, weak, shaky and indecisive’, Ozukum said, “we have to prove that our government is decisive, strong and have a clear vision.”