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“No enmity” with Rio, NPF may not contest all 60 seats, says Kuzholuzo Nienu

Nagaland News

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, MAY 9: Assessing own strengths and understanding the weaknesses form the qualities of a good leader. More so in Nagaland politics; and new NPF legislature party leader
Kuzholuzo Nienu fits into that category.
“We have to reignite the passion among party leaders and workers. But there will be some challenges before elections as we do not have much time. As of now, I think we cannot contest all 60 assembly seats in 2023”, Kuzholuzo alias Azo told Nagaland Page.
It is in this context, he says his party is open to the idea of allies with any party and any leader.
“We do not practice political untouchability. We are ready for alliance with anybody including NDPP and even Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio”, he remarked.
Asked whether or not he is going ‘soft’ on Rio after all that happened as 21 NPF legislators rather unceremoniously jumped the ship ostensibly at the behest of the Chief Minister, Azo said, “I do not have any enmity with Rio. We have no issues with Deputy CM Y Patton of BJP either”.
But he hastened to add, “Now that I am a new leader, I would like to bring in new ideas, new friends, new concepts, new strategies and we will be open to alliance with any party.”
“In fact, we will welcome seat sharing with other parties also and that will be including NDPP”, he remarked.
“I have said that in one of my media interactions we are not adverse to any political party including leaders”, he said.
But answering questions, he said, “We do not appreciate the manner our 21 colleagues left us. It has not left a good feeling inside us. They wanted to move, they should have told us. They were in majority, how could we stop them?”
But they did it “hidingly”, he said and went onto add, “We would like to know their grievances. Why want to quit the party. And if possible, we could have tried to address the issues and patch up. But they simply went off.”
Asked “What could be the reason; is it preparing for elections?” Azo skirted a direct reply. “Everybody has the right to prepare for elections… maybe they think Mr Rio has some cards and resources up in his sleeves. I will not speak further on this.”
Would he like to blame former Chief Minister TR Zeliang for the move of the defectors, he said, “It was collective, I cannot blame one individual alone for it.”
Asked to elaborate on his emphasis on ‘new ideas and new strategies’ for the forthcoming elections and NPF moves, he said, “One thing is to have new alliance wherever possible. The other part is we will go for fresh candidates who will surely win and we will bring change in the State of Nagaland.”
To start with, he said he proposes to travel across the State and visit all 60 Assembly constituencies and then specific electoral strategies will be worked out.
“It will take at least two months for me to bring out a clear picture on what we will do and what we should do”, he said.
To a question on Naga peace talks whether he thought the Chief Minister (Rio) and the State Government have done enough or should have done more, he replied: “Oh, certainly, it should have done more.”
Asked whether he also thought that Chief Minister Rio and a section of NDPP leaders are ‘status quoists’ and do not want solution to the political problem at the earliest, he replied saying, “Well, I have not read that mind of his.”
But he said 4 NPF legislators recently met Chief Minister Rio and discussed several issues, but “we did not discuss peace talks issue”.
To a question, he said, “We were frank and very specific with him. We wanted to know whether we should continue to be part of the Government or we should pull out. Mr Rio said that we should be in the Government itself and 1 of our MLAs (from Chizami) has been given a Chairmanship also.”

K Nienu designated UDA co-Chairman
DIMAPUR, MAY 9: The Governor of Nagaland has designated Kuzholuzo Nienu, Leader of NPF Legislature Party as co-Chairman of United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in the rank and status of Cabinet Minister with immediate effect.
(Page News Service)