Dimapur, February 14: The lone Lok Sabha Member of Parliament from Nagaland, Tokheho Yepthomi has justified his absence in the Parliament on January 8 when the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by claiming that he had scheduled his engagements in Zunheboto and Aghunato from January 4 to 8 “as there was no important business listed, and especially nothing pertaining to Nagaland.”
In a rejoinder to the statement issued by NPF spokesperson, Achumbemo Kikon, the MP Lok Sabha said the CAB was introduced in the house in 2016 but was referred back to the Select Committee, where all Members of Parliament, across party lines, are members, including two Congress MPs from Assam. The bill came to the Parliament after Select Committee gave clearance. He said CAB was introduced in the Lower House only on January 7 and passed by voice vote.
“As per the records available there was no division of vote, for and against the bill. As there was no important business listed, and especially nothing pertaining to Nagaland hence I scheduled engagements in Zunheboto and Aghunato from the 4th to 8th January 2019,” he said.
Stating that Nagas living in Nagaland whose names are in general census are all Nagas, Tokheho said no one is “genuine or duplicate Nagas”. “All Naga citizens are equally responsible in the interest of Nagas and Nagaland. No party or individual should write or speak as if he/she is the only person or representative for all Nagas,” he said.
Agreeing with the NPF spokesperson that he represent all Nagas in the Lower House, Tokheho, however, took exception to the allegation that his election as MP “was gifted to me”, which he said is an insult to the process of democracy and mandate of the people.
“I was not elected to the Lower House with the vote of NPF and its spokesperson. I also admit that I lost the last general election in my sixth election, on the contrary by the grace of God and blessing of my constituency people I was elected in five consecutive general elections from 1993 to 2013. I have no comment about the NPF spokesperson who has not even won a civic election and that maybe the reason as to why he thinks that losing an election needs to be compensated for,” he stated.
Tokheho also reminded that the NPF “tried alliance with BJP till 21/1/2018 before the last general elections”, but BJP refused to have an alliance. “Even after the refusal of alliance in the midst of elections their leader stated on 14/2/2018 that their alliance with BJP was still intact. It is for the Naga people to decide about the ideology of the party that takes pride in being the oldest regional party that was in alliance with BJP for decades and suddenly had an epiphany about protecting Christianity after the latter refused their support.”
Accusing the NPF of trying to confuse people by pointing out that till date four NPF MLAs are still a part of the BJP led government in Manipur, the MP alleged that NPF leaders might still be trying to take the support of the BJP to takeover the government.
“Clean your party and speak like a regional party,” he said.
On the claim by NPCC president, Tokheho asked Therie to clarify as to how the CAB was passed by voice vote in the Lower House.
The MP claimed that he participated in the President’s address debate, but as smaller party MPs are only given two or three minutes at the most, he raised the issue only about Naga political negotiations and for the settlement, which, he said, was and is the most important issue amongst all for Nagas.
“NPCC President protested against ‘Bedrock of Naga Society’ and left the Congress Party but recently he invited the author of ‘Bedrock of Naga Society’ back to the party and shared the same platform, eating back his vomited words during 2003 general assembly election,” he alleged, while also suggesting to the NPCC president to ask his party how CAB was passed by voice vote in the lower house when his party is at the forefront of the ‘Mahagathbandhan’. (Page News Service)