IMPHAL, January 21: ‘Star Campainger’ of the Naga Peoples Front and Nagaland chief minister, Nephiu Rio labelled his Manipur counterpart, Okram Ibobi as a partial and anti-Naga leader, while at the same time promoting his party as a formidable force to realize the ultimate goal of Naga unity.
Rio was addressing a public meeting at Maha Union Higher School ground at Japhou in Chandel to campaing for his party candidates in Tengnoupal and Chandel assembly constituencies, David Charanga and Nunglur Victor.
Earlier, Rio also made a helicopter campaign tour of Ukhrul district.
The Nagaland chief minister who had recently claimed that the NPF had entered the election scenario in the neighbouring state after storming to power in Nagaland with the intention of being a part of the next government focused his two-hour long speech on the sentimental issue of Naga unity.
Rio categorically denounced the Manipur chief minister O Ibobi for engaging in policies which he termed as undemocratic and compromising the wishes of the Naga communities. The Manipur CM made his anti-Naga stand clear when he denied NSCN-IM general secretary Th Muivah from visiting his native village in Ukhrul district of Manipur in 2010, Rio claimed. He stressed that Ibobi stopped Muivah even though the latter had acquired permission to enter Manipur from the Union government. Moreover, Ibobi used force on demonstrators supporting the NSCN leader visit to his native village during which two lives were lost, he said.
If the Nagas want to prevent the sufferings encountered in recent times, the only visible alternative is to change the government headed by Ibobi, he told the large gathering.
For the last six decades, the series of government in Manipur have suppressed the desire of the Nagas for their political integration. To substantiate his statement he recalled the strong opposition against the entry of NPF in Manipur exhibited by the Ibobi government during the last winter session of Manipur Assembly. Rio alleged that Ibobi went on to lodge a complaint at the Centre with a bid to block the NPF from venturing into the territory of Manipur.
Despite the hurdles thrown at the NPF, he declared, the party has managed to set its foot and contest the assembly elections as it is a legitimate political party recognized by the Election Commission of India.
Medical minister of Nagaland Azo, parliamentary secretary of social welfare, Nagaland, Chothisuh Sazo also attended the public function.
Earlier in Ukhrul, Rio played the Naga integration card to canvass support for his party candidate and fired his first salvo at Ibobi.
‘Hope is good politics that do the right things for the right people by the right leader’, said Rio addressing NPF campaign at Ukhrul’s Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) ground.
Speaking on the occasion Rio asserted that Nagas, settled in four states, Assam, Arunachal, Nagaland and Manipur, have been divided without the Nagas consent and long to be integrated under one administrative umbrella which is the core issue of the Naga political situation. To combat this issue, he views the NPF as the strongest force to voice the demand, which he told the crowd is the birth right of the Nagas.
The Nagaland CM pointed out that the Nagaland state Assembly had passed the Bill of “Nagas Integration” four times. Nagas, over or under-ground, has this common aspiration, he said.