Mokokchung / Wokha May 16 (EMN): The chief minister of Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio, has appealed to the people of Mokokchung and Wokha to be part of a time of transformation that has an opportunity for the Naga people to experience peace, progress, and growth.
Rio launched in Mokokchung on May 16 a massive election campaign for the Peoples’ Democratic Alliance’s (PDA) candidate to the Lok Sabha by-election. There are just 12 days left for the polls.
Rio addressed a mammoth gathering at the Imkongmeren Sports Complex. In his address the chief minister told the gathering that the coalition nominated Tokheho Yepthomi to represent Nagaland in the Lok Sabha due to his capability, experience, and knowledge.
The chief minister called the district a pioneer and noted the community for its contribution to the Naga people in various fields. He urged Mokokchung to stand for the PDA’s candidate with a ‘landslide victory by a margin of lakh.’
Expressing gratitude to the people for giving him another chance to lead the people as their chief minister for the fourth time, Rio said that his aim was to settle the Naga political issue. If an ‘inclusive solution’ is arrived at and peace comes, there will be development. For instance, the gathering was told, there would be programmes for the uplift of women, and youth, and the rural areas.
Rio said further that it was during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure that the ‘framework agreement’ was signed. Therefore, he said, ‘It is obvious that the Naga political problem can be resolved only during Modi’s reign. If otherwise the Naga people miss the opportunity, he said, it would turn out to be a difficult time for them again.
Further, Rio explained that he had written to Delhi that the ‘state does not need an MP by-election if the tenure is less than a year. ‘ However, they declared the elections because the Naga people needed a representative to speak for them ‘regarding constitutional amendments if Naga political resolution arrived at.’
However, Rio said that although negotiations are on he could not be able to offer assurances about an early settlement. He appealed to the Naga political groups including the NSCN (K) to take the way of dialogue and ceasefire. Settlement should be inclusive, he said.
Rio asserted to the electorate, “Change is here and full change will come when public support and participation comes. Be a part of the change, be a part of the government and be a party for the change for better.”
Rio also talked about upcoming events. He said that the ground-breaking ceremony for the Dr T Ao Football Academy would be during the first week of June.
The chief minister then trained his sights on the Naga People’s Front (NPF). He recalled that when he along with other like-minded leaders launched the NPF in 2002, the late Vizol was chosen as its president. He said that the NPF’s president Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu and opposition leader TR Zeliang were now behaving like they were the ‘owner’ of it. “I want to remind you that late Uncle Vizol was the first president of the NPF. But now the NPF party president and its leader are behaving like they own the party,” Rio said. In spite of his many attempts to strengthen the party, he was instead suspended and expelled. Therefore, he said, he decided to leave the NPF as there was no place for him in an organisation that he had built up along with other leaders.
The statement also pointed out that the NPF was engaging in double-speak by branding the BJP anti-Christian and communal without considering the fact that the NPF had been in alliance with the BJP for the past 15 years.
The chief minister asserted further that there was disunity in the NPF party currently, having been ‘divided into three groups “one led by Shurhozelie Liezietsu, one by TR Zeliang and the other group to join them.”
“People say the opposition is very strong but they are not strong only their number is good, no strength because of the divided house,” Rio alleged. In this connection, he urged the people to understand why Delhi bestowed on him the leadership position but refused the NPF.
On May 16, Rio spoke took the message of change and development to Wokha. In his address in the VDB and Chairman Association’s hall, the chief minister spoke of candidate Tokeho Yepthomi as a person with a vision to empower the society.
Rio spoke about settlement to the Naga political issue. He urged the people to be united and prepare a ‘landing ground’ as a settlement would bring peace which would in turn bring development. He said that there was a ‘mass-based aspiration’ that solution should come before the next Lok Sabha elections in 2019. For this, there has to be a ‘landing ground’ where the people are united ‘so that solution is inclusive.’
In other matters, the chief minister said that politics and religion were two different things. He said that the political parties be it the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party or the NPF were all ‘registered political parties and not a religion organizations or party.’ He appealed to the people to support and contribute to the PDA government. He assured to ensure equal opportunities and development.
Candidate T Yepthomi, spoke at the event in Wokha too. He assured the gathering that he would do justice to their trust by representing them.
An update from the chief minister’s office on Wednesday also gave an overview of the coalition’s aspiration for the Naga people to unite so they may live in peace ‘when a final solution to the vexed Naga political issue is reached.’ For this, Rio appealed to the NSCN (K) to engage in peace talks with the government of India.
In hoping that ‘crucial developments’ to a final solution would take place before the next Lok Sabha elections, Rio said that it was ‘extremely important to have a Lok Sabha representative particularly during such a period.’
Also, the chief minister had highlighted to the electorate the decisions and policies of the PDA government during the past two months since securing power, the updates stated. Neiphiu Rio spoke about the government’s priorities such as promotion of sports, preservation of wildlife, and environment, and ‘all round development etc.’ Also, he discouraged the practice of hunting wild birds and animals for feasts or presentation to visiting dignitaries, the updates stated.
PDA invites Mokokchung and Wokha to transformation