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PDA, NPF hold unprecedented joint press conference

Joint Press Conf

Exude hope on ending differences on Naga political process
KOHIMA, NOVEMBER 5: Unprecedented and historic joint press conference by the ruling Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) and Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) ended with differences on Naga political issue, as uneasy and strange bedmates played their one up-manship political card.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Leader of the Opposition, T R Zeliang termed the press conference historic but they failed to reach for a consensus on Indo-Naga political issue and walked out of the Assembly Conference hall with perturbed postures with their respective lawmakers.
“Today’s joint press conference marks an unprecedented remarkable event, wherein you see the Leader of the Ruling Party and the Leader of the Opposition sharing stage for a press briefing and this significant development is because the Naga political settlement is the aspiration and the desire of the Nagas and it is important, as well as crucial, to be one on this issue, at this juncture to facilitate for an early settlement”, said Zeliang.
Rio also endorsed Zeliang’s assertion that it was a rare occasion to sit together with Leader of the
Opposition and expressed optimism that they would work together to facilitate the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks. He said the viewpoint of his Government is “one Naga, one issue, one solution”, which is inclusive. But former Chief Minister Zeliang said his party’s slogan is “one solution, one accord”.
“This morning, as we shared a common stage here, it is a reflection of the commitment that when it comes to Naga political issue, we have no political affiliation and is always ready to work together as one provided that all the legislators, cutting across political party lines, sincerely dedicate to work towards achieving one common goal by being active facilitators”, the former Chief Minister Zeliang said.
He said when the Union Government is seriously working to resolve the Naga issue and if the state Government possesses the same seriousness, the Opposition will extend cooperation and is prepared to work together on a common platform. “On this note I have written a letter to the Chief Minister on November 2, requesting him to consider the proposals of the NPF Legislature Party which was taken after the deliberations in a meeting of the Legislators and in consultation with the NPF Working Committee”, he disclosed.
Reacting to NPF’s demand for change of Speaker as Chairman and form a Parliamentary Working Committee headed by the Chief Minister, the leader of PDA. Rio termed such demand as disrespect to the Speaker and urged the NPF to rejoin the Joint Legislators’ Forum (JLF) headed by the Speaker. He categorically asserted that they will not do away with JLF and the resolutions adopted on October 15 consultative meeting with civil societies and political parties on the Naga political issue. However he said PDA will meet today to discuss the demands of the cock party.
He also urged the NPF to endorse the October 15 resolution but the NPF neither endorsed nor willing to rejoin the JLF. One of the senior NPF leaders told Nagaland Page that they will not rejoin the JLF if the State Government does not change its approach towards the Naga peace process.
“NPF did not attend the October 15 consultative meeting so can’t endorse it”, Zeliang said. He further said October 15 meeting talked about “one solution, one people”. Nevertheless he said NPF will not object to the October 15 resolutions. “We don’t object to the October 15 resolutions”, he added.
On demand for a special Assembly Session, Rio said enough discussions have been held in the Assembly on this issue adding that the Central Government has asked the Naga MLAs and political parties to unite and come together to resolve the Naga issue.
The Chief Minister also reiterated the stand to pave the way for an honourable and acceptable solution. “We are prepared to pave way”, he added.
Later addressing the Press at his official chamber in the Assembly Secretariat, Leader of the Opposition, Zeliang said both PDA and NPF had fruitful consultations with the Naga civil societies and the desire of the people is that Naga groups should come together for an inclusive solution. He said both PDA and NPF should appreciate each other’s initiatives to facilitate the peace process and hammer out solution at the earliest. “We are ready to sit and discuss issues to iron out differences”, said Leader of the Opposition.
Today’s press conference was also an outcome of the meeting of Rio, Zeliang and Assam Minister and Centre’s emissary, Himanta Biswas Sarma with Union Home Minister Amit Shah last month, which was followed by the October 29 meeting between Rio and Zeliang.
Earlier during the press conference at the Assembly Hall, Zeliang said withdrawal of his party from the JLF was due to it being dormant since 2018 and that the report card had nothing to show forth. He said Political Affairs Mission (PAM) has made its stand clear from the start that they would be active facilitators and towards this they held extensive deliberations with civil society organizations and also the Naga negotiating groups.
“During the course of our consultation and our mission, we got the sense that all Nagas desire one solution, one accord, which will ensure permanent peace in our land”, he said. He maintained that they continued with their mission and managed to break the ice between the two Naga negotiating groups.
“With confidence I say today that they have both, in principle, agreed to meet across the table, respecting the wishes of all the stakeholders”, Zeliang said.
Over a minor hiccup the NPF leader said they meet the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) yesterday and sorted out the differences. “We are confident that given the willingness from both the parties to sit across the table, we expect to witness an understanding between the two parties before any accord is signed”, he said.
He demanded for the formation of a common platform under the chairmanship of Chief Minister, known as Parliamentary Working Committee which will be represented by legislatures from NPF, NDPP and BJP and two MPs. A special Assembly should be convened to deliberate on the Naga political issue and adopt a resolution. “It is time to revisit the commitment we have given to the Naga people during election years on the political issue. Should situation demand, as committed in the past, the elected members should be prepared to even step down and pave the way for settlement”, he said.
“I am here today to look towards the future with a renewed hope that the Chief Minister would actively lead the honourable Members and reach our destination with trust and confidence in each other”, Zeliang told the press conference.
(Page News Service)

No questions press conference
KOHIMA, NOVEMBER 5: The historic joint press conference of Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) and Naga People’s Front (NPF) did not take any question from the media as Assembly Speaker Sharingain Longkumer abruptly intervened to deliver his concluding remarks.
Though it was understandable that Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio and Leader of the Opposition, T R Zeliang were prepared to take the question, but Rio close aide’s signal prompted the Speaker to close the Press Conference without taking questions from the media. Later, while interacting with the media, Zeliang expressed surprise how the press conference was abruptly sealed without taking questions from journalists.
The Speaker, in his concluding remarks, thanked the Chief Minister, Leader of the Opposition, MLAs and the Media.
The PC was also attended by Deputy Chief Minister, Y Patton, President of BJP, Temjen Imna Along, among others.
Today’s joint Press Conference was called, as advised by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, in an effort to sort out the differences between PDA and the NPF. He has even asked the NPF to rejoin the Joint Legislators’ Forum (JLF).
(Page News Service)No questions press conference