He revealed that he has been approached by some political parties from as far as Jharkhand to join the NPF, but that he has decided to go slow for the moment.
Addressing NPF elections campaigns today at Chandel and Ukhrul district headquarters, the Chief Minister said that the inability of the 20 legislators from the hill districts to come together on a single platform all these decades has “prevented the representatives to speak out in one voice and one mind when they attend the Assembly sessions in Imphal” even though they might have the best of intentions for the over-all development of their people.
“The 20 Legislative Assembly Constituencies in the hill districts of Manipur have been represented by hills people for the last 40 years or so. But since the belong to different political parties they become strangers to each other when they come to the Manipur Legislative Assembly and they could not have the same voice since there was no platform for them to come together at that point of time. We believe that by introducing the NPF in Manipur we have provided the much-needed platform to the people of these 20 Constituencies. When these 20 legislators can come together on this platform, their collective voice can bring development; that voice can protect the interests of the hill people; and that is our aim when we decided to introduce NPF in the State of Manipur some years back,” he said.
He said though the NPF stands for integration of contiguous Naga areas, “we have to go through a democratic and legally-correct process which may take some time” but expressed optimism that sooner or later “integration will be a reality.”
Elaborating on the aims and objectives of the NPF party, he said that the party stands for peace and is determined to play the role of a peace-maker among the different sections of the people of the hill districts.
“Not only to the different sections of the people of the hill districts but even to the different factions of the underground. We have so many outfits, so many insurgency groups in the Northeast, especially Nagaland and Manipur. We do not know all their political agendas, but unless they come together, they cannot achieve anything. Therefore, one of our aims is to be the bridge between the various underground groups. One faction fighting the other factions will only bring destruction to ourselves and we are only dividing ourselves,” he said and appealed to all factions to unite for the sake of the people and renounce violence in all form.
“We want to see all the different communities live together in peace and harmony. We stand for peace and we will continue to play for peace. We want to live in complete harmony with all our neighbours,” he said and appealed to the voters to ensure that the NPF candidates are elected.
Echoing the Chief Minister, Nagaland Minister in Charge of NPF Manipur Unit, Yitachu said that “NPF is not participating in the Manipur elections just for the sake of participating, but we are serious on finding a solution to the Naga political problem.”
Yitachu went on to recall how in 1964, the NPF party, then known as Democratic Party of Nagaland, sacrificed its 12 MLAs after the Ceasefire Agreement was signed between the Government of India and the NNC/FGN by making all of its MLAs resign from the Assembly “to pave way for a negotiated settlement.”
Also heeding to the call of the people and various sections of the Naga society, the NPF then known as NPC, boycotted the elections of 1998 in Nagaland along with all other political parties except for the Congress which filed candidates and got themselves elected unopposed and formed the Government much to the opposition of the people.
Yitachu went on to recount how in Manipur the Congress party had let down the people of the hill districts all these years and said that the Congress is going to lose this time round because of Ibobi, because of the party’s policy against the Naga peace process and because of its policy against the tribal people.
Issued by Media Cell, Chief Minister’s Office, Nagaland