Dr Shurhozelie on NPF expansion; says ENPO demand weakens peace process

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KOHIMA, Apr 3 (NEPS): President of major ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), Dr Shurhozelie has rubbished as “wild charges” senior opposition Congress MLA Kongam Konyak’s allegation that there used to be Naga underground factional clashes in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh wherever NPF party was campaigning there.

It may be mentioned that in the recently concluded Assembly session here, senior opposition Congress MLA from Mon district Kongam Konyak alleged that whenever the NPF party campaigned in Tirap and Changlang district, Naga underground factional clashes took place. The opposition MLA had even told the NPF not to spoil Assam too.

Talking to NEPS here on Sunday, Dr Shurhozelie expressed utter surprise on the senior Congress MLA’s allegation saying that they had never campaigned in Tirap and Changlang. At the same time, the NPF chief further questioned as to how anybody could blame any political parties, just because Naga underground factional clashes broke out there. “It is ridiculous and wild charge,” he stated.

Dr Shurhozelie, who is also senior DAN minister, reiterated that the demand of the Eastern Naga People’s Organization (ENPO) for a separate “Frontier Nagaland State” had weakened the “ongoing peace process.” The Naga people—be it NSCN (IM) or NSCN (K) and NNC—they all had been fighting for the sovereignty of the Nagas, whereas some group tried to “divide” the Nagas, he stated. “So I said it has weakened the cause of the Nagas,” he added.

With regard to the expansion of NPF to Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, the NPF chief explained the party’s position on taking decision to spread their political activities in the neighboring States particularly those States where Nagas inhabited.

Dr Shurhozelie said there had been demands from friends from outside Nagaland that the activities of their political party should also reach to their respective areas. At the same time, some national political parties too had requested them (NPF) to allow them to become part of party.

“As such, we in the party (NPF) have discussed the matter and carefully studied at the party constitution if we want to spread our political activities to other States of the region,” the NPF chief stated.

Dr Shurhozelie further narrated that since other national political parties too had their units in all the States and Union Territories, “why not they also think of establishing their NPF Units in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Assam where Nagas live.”

As the same time, the NPF chief disclosed that their party being a registered political party had to take approval from the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the nomenclature of Nagaland People’s Front had to be changed to Naga People’s Front to suit the local political environment of those respective States. “I think there is nothing wrong to change from Nagaland to Naga to embrace all walks of life,” he added.

In the meantime, while they were working to complete the procedure and waiting the approval from the ECI, the announcement of Arunachal Pradesh election came in. So those aspiring candidates who wanted to fight in NPF tickets in Arunachal election waited till the last moment but could not fight as NPF candidates due to the delay of approval from the ECI, the NPF president narrated.

As the last date of filing nomination was fast approaching, these aspiring candidates became restless. And in case they failed, they would have a point. “So we have told them to take their own decision,” Dr Shurhozelie admitted adding that they felt very “embarrassed” as ECI approval did not come till the last moment.

So some had to fight as “Independent”, while some as candidates of Arunachal People’s Party, he recalled saying, “Otherwise, these aspiring candidates had even given written commitment that they would fight as NPF candidates.”

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