Kohima, Feb. 14 (EMN): Chief Minister TR Zeliang has confidently declared that ‘what remains are the selfless, dedicated and committed members who are determined to restore, strengthen and project a new image of the state.’ He was speaking in the context of his claim that ‘many self-seekers, political mercenaries and imposters who tried to destroy the image of Nagaland’ had been ‘weeded out’ of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) during the past few months.
Speaking at the Kohima division’s NPF election rally at the party’s central office on Wed. Zeliang said that the task before the party now was to ‘cut out–to ensure maximum participation of our voters in the true spirit of clean elections and emerge victorious.’
Taking a dig at the newly-floated Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Zeliang said ‘as they (NDPP) know their size they ran for seat sharing chasing BJP central leaders to Guwahati-Delhi back to state and ran to Delhi with an offer of seat 20/30/40, whereas we were asked to share 15 which could not be agreed because it was not practicable in Nagaland politics.’
On the Naga political issue, the chief minister claimed that the NPF had given voice for the past 55 years and was all for a solution to the Naga political issue before the elections to the assembly. He however, said that ‘we had to join the electoral process as it was a constitutional and legal requirement and we did not want a repeat of 1998 or let the state go through President’s Rule.’
Although the NPF is confident of sweeping the elections, Zeliang said that the party stands by its commitment to keep ‘solution first’; it is committed to making a way for any new dispensation that might be required once a final settlement is reached.
While stating that the Naga political issue was the party’s ‘top most priority,’ he said that the organisation will continue to work with tribal ‘hohos’ and apex bodies; the church, and the Naga ‘political’ groups toward a final settlement
Describing the NPF party as the torchbearer of regionalism in the Northeast region and the first to have aligned with the ruling BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the centre, he was of the view that ‘we will be treated with care and respect by mainland India, and the rest of the world only if we firmly maintain our unique tribal and regional identity.’
While calling upon the Nagas to be united and prepare to battle the 2018 election, president of the Naga People’s Front (NPF), Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu categorically stated that ‘the 2018 general election is not just a contest between the political parties for the formation of government, but it will be a contest between outside forces and the force of the Naga people.’
Taking a dig at the BJP-NDPP alliance, Liezietsu asserted that ‘the present politics is beyond politics and that Naga people can clearly see that BJP shouldering with some selfish Naga leaders is penetrating to our land. Naga people should realise that this is not just politics but something else where we might lose our identity and faith one day.’
He said that the 2018 election was a selection between the ‘destruction or preservation’ of the Naga people and their identity unlike during other elections in past. He opined that many tall Naga leaders succumbing to power and money would soon land the Naga people into great trouble if voted to power.
On the NPF and BJP alliance for more than 14 years, Liezietsu maintained that the ‘BJP is with us, NPF is not with BJP.’ He added that although the BJP is free to contest in any constituency, he maintained that the NPF can never commit to seat-sharing with the saffron party who according to him was ‘coming to Nagaland aggressively and ask for seat-sharing with the NPF.’
Accusing the NDPP leaders of ‘self interest,’ Liezietsu said that the ‘NDPP came forward and offered a huge seat sharing to BJP and thus gave 20 seats inviting the BJP to set its root in our land.’