President of the Naga People’s Front (NPF – Central Office, Kohima) Shurhozelie Liezietsu has said that circumstances brought together NPF and BJP in CM Biren-led coalition government in Manipur as the regional political party is committed to finding an early negotiated solution to the vexed Naga political issue.
“Our association with BJP in Manipur is in a way circumstantial because we want early settlement of the Naga political problem,” the NPF supremo stated while speaking during a one-day political awareness programme at Ukhrul’s town hall on Friday.
Maintaining that the party believes in its motto “Fide Non Armis” (meaning ‘By faith, not by arms), he said that: “We have pledged to work for an honourable, acceptable and inclusive political settlement to the long-standing political struggle of our people. We have pledged to work for the integration of all Naga ancestral areas. This you will find in Article II, clause 2(c) of our Constitution.”
At the same time, while also terming the alliance as something ‘more of a personal relationship’ between the two parties, Shurhozelie said that the party’s number was small but it would remain constant and would continue to maintain its stand in days to come as long as decency prevailed.
“In Manipur, we are going together with BJP Government. We have extended unconditional support to Mr. Biren Singh to form BJP Government in Manipur and we continue to be there with him in good time as well as in bad time as a true partner. I feel grateful to him for the recognition he has accorded to our Members in the Manipur Legislative Assembly with the expectation that he also must have some reciprocity feelings when he looks back at those days of trials for his Government,” he continued.
Shifting his attention to the forthcoming Autonomous District Council (ADC) elections, Shurhozelie said that: “It is almost certain that ADC elections are coming by March this year and for which, I have been informed by our party leaders here that notification may be issued any day after 15 February. Therefore, it is timely that we meet here today to discuss about the coming elections before it is notified.”
He then expressed his elation that many aspiring candidates are vying for NPF ticket for the ensuing polls in the district. “It is to be taken as a good sign if more people want our ticket,” he remarked.
On a more serious note, the visiting NPF chief reminded all the aspiring party candidates that the ensuing ADC elections would be very crucial for the party. “If we can perform well this time, it can also serve as the springboard for our success in the next General Election which is not far off,” he asserted and added that NPF was heavily relying on their poll performance.
Stating that elections are an opportunity for political parties to propagate their philosophy, principles and policies, he urged his party-men to make best use of it to educate its policies and principles to the people at the grass roots level.
“In the upcoming ADC elections, BJP, as the party in power will certainly set up their candidates. But since they know that we have been honestly acting as a source to help them towards stability, I personally feel that they may not and should not be very serious in the upcoming ADC elections.”
Even then, Shurhozelie observed that much would also depend on the attitude of the candidates (BJP). “So, it will be the responsibility of the village and area leaders to make them understand not to vitiate the friendly relationship of the two parties in the Assembly. I am hopeful that our people will realise and appreciate our stand,” he anticipated.
Asserting that NPF is committed to work for the welfare of Naga people, he said that: “it is the only party which represents your identity and your personality. A person without identity and personality is a lost man. At the moment, you are aware that no other political party can give you hope except NPF.”
President NPF, MSU Awangbou Newmai, urged all the communities in the state to respect the sentiments of the others. “If Naga areas are in turmoil, can Manipur be said to be peaceful?,” said Newmai who is also Minister, Forest and Environment, Climate Change and Sericulture, Govt. of Manipur.
In his speech, L Dikho, Hon’ble Minister PHED, Stationary and Printing, Govt of Manipur, said that the upcoming ADC polls have a lot of prospects for the people and added that peace and progress for the people is what ADC candidates should keep in mind.
Highlighting the struggles of NPF in its initial period in Manipur, he recalled that soon after the last ADC elections, people started appreciating NPF party.
He also mentioned that Manipur has vast potentials in sports, medical and tourism but it needs peace to develop,
“Entry of NPF has contributed towards peace, harmony among communities in the state,” he asserted.
Speaking at the occasion, Chingai MLA Khashim Vashum, while extending wishes to all the party’s aspiring candidates, expressed optimism that NPF party would secure ‘absolute majority’ in the forthcoming ADC polls in Ukhrul district.
Chairman, HAC Leishiyo Keishing, Achumbemo Kikon, Secretary-General, NPF Central Office, Kohima, Thenucho Tunyi, Working President NPF, Central Office, Kohima and other attended the day-long event which saw massive public participation. It was organised by NPF Ukhrul Division.