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Rio re-assures free & fair conduct of poll
Correspondent KOHIMA, APR 14 (NPN):
Published on 15 Apr. 2009 2:00 AM IST
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State Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio Tuesday reassured the smooth and free and fair conduct of the parliamentary election and bye-election to the four assembly constituencies. “We assure the people of the state that the polling process will not be allowed to be deviated by undemocratic forces or elements which try to disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the state,” Rio said and appealed the electorate to come forward and exercise their franchise without any fear or apprehension. He was addressing a joint press conference with NPF party president and Urban Development Minister, Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu at the closing hour of the last day of election campaign at NPF party central office here today. He said the state machineries were all geared up for a free and fair conduct of the parliamentary election and bye-election to the four assembly seats under peaceful environment. The administration, police and the election department have been working tirelessly to ensure that the democratic process is upheld and democracy is strengthened, he stated. Meanwhile, Rio also took a dig at the opposition Congress for making a public appeal to the underground groups to “help the Congress party on the polling day.” Rio termed the appeal as nothing but one that undermined the national workers and a gesture that explained the Congress party’s approach to the Naga political issue. He said the appeal spoke volumes of the Congress party’s position and stand which also justified the fact that the party has lost all semblance of public support for which it was now appealing the underground groups. He also reiterated that the Naga political issue remained at the top of its agenda and that it would continue to play the role of active facilitator. Rio also said that both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs if elected would continue to pursue with the government of India to expedite the peace process and speed up the ongoing negotiation. He described the Congress party’s claim that they only could bring solution to the Naga political issue as “false promise.” He wondered what the Congress was doing in their 45 years of rule in the country all by itself and another 5 years of coalition rule. “If they could not bring solution in 50 years, who will trust them that they will bring solution if given another chance?” he asked. Reiterating his statement on the Congress candidate Asungba Sangtam’s assurance to be a “good facilitator”, Rio pointed out that the latter was MP for two consecutive terms but that he could not do anything for the Naga issue. “He could not do or say anything for the Nagas during the period and today he is claiming that he can be a good facilitator. It is just another eye wash which will not convince the people,” Rio added. The chief minister also reiterated that the NPF was a recognized and registered party and that it would do justice to the state. He rubbished the claim made by the opposition Congress that its MP, even if elected would remain unattached in the parliament not getting sufficient time to participate in the debate and discussion. Rio also furnished the lists of the recognized party during the last 14th Lok Sabha where the NPF was listed at serial number 33 and termed the Congress’ claims as “totally false and misleading.” He said NPF would be given sufficient time to participate in every discussion and debate in the parliament and that the party would also be invited to every meeting of the Chief Whips and All-party meetings. “Moreover, our MP will be at the liberty to freely express the feelings and desires of the Naga people,” Rio added.

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