Dimapur, February 1: The Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF) has accused Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of misleading the Naga people by claiming that the NPF boycotted Statehood Day on December 1, 2018, the Hornbill Festival and the Republic Day celebration on January 26, 2019.
Speaking at the consultative meeting with civil societies, tribal organizations, political parties and NGOs on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) 2016 at Chumukedima on January 31, Rio had claimed that the NPF had boycotted the Statehood Day and the Republic Day celebration.
But the NPF said the party had never boycotted any of the programmes that Rio claimed. It rather reminded the Chief Minister that the recently concluded Republic Day in the State was boycotted by the Naga Students Federation in line with the directive of the North-East Students Organisation (NESO) and not by the NPF in any manner.
“These fabricated and wild allegations of Neiphiu Rio which was disseminated to the civil societies, tribal hohos and NGOs with the intention of confusing the general public is outrightly dismissed and condemned in the strongest term,” it said in a press release.
The NPF also claimed that instead of apologizing before the Naga citizens, Rio convened the January 31 consultative meeting to cover up his mistakes, which, it said, has further confused the general public.
“Despite being a former Member of Parliament, he suffers defeat in understanding the proceedings of the Indian Parliament or the introduction of the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha. When the bill was proposed in the Lok Sabha on July 15, 2016 and referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on August 12, 2016; Rio was the lone MP representing Nagaland in the Lok Sabha. He was Lok Sabha MP from May 2014 to February 2018 and if not for facilitating such affairs between his people and the Parliament, what otherwise was the purpose of Rio representing the Naga people at the Lok Sabha?” it asked.
The NPF maintained that it was Rio’s bounden duty to consult and take into confidence the voice of his people as the said Bill was referred to the JPC for examination with direction for onward submission to the Speaker for consideration and passing of the Bill by Parliament, which took over a year.
“Ignorance and failure on the part of Rio only points to the fact that he was hardly in Parliament as he was busy master-minding crisis, one after another, to topple the then NPF led DAN Government in the State,” it alleged.
The NPF also pointed out that in both the Cabinet meetings held on June 5, 2018 and January 7, 2019; Rio and his Cabinet did not oppose the Bill and the NDPP Member of Parliament in the Lok Sabha, Tokheho Yepthomi went ahead and voted in favour of the Bill on January 8, 2019.
The NPF claimed that it was only on January 28, 2019 that Rio and his Cabinet decided to oppose the Bill in order to attend the proposed North-East Regions’ Political Parties Convention at Guwahati. “The next day on January 29, a hired Chopper ferried NDPP leaders which included Chingwang Konyak, Neiba Ndang, Chuba Chang, Nungsang Aier, T.L Merry and Tali Pongen to attend the said Meeting which the group managed to witness for a mere 15 minutes by arriving at 11:45 hours, 15 minutes before the Meeting has ended,” it claimed.
Stating that a coalition Government is a collaboration of several political parties which forms the Government reducing the dominance of one single political party, the NPF alleged that on an important issue like the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, the NDPP led PDA Government never consulted its coalition parties like the NPP and the JDU which were strongly against the Bill from day one.
“The NPF ask the Chief Minister since his Government humbled down to the cry of the public and decided to reject the Bill, will his party MP Lok Sabha withdraw his vote who voted in favour of the Bill to passed in the Lok Sabha?” it added. (Page News Service)