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NPF is for Naga identity: Rio
Correspondent KOHIMA, NOV 28(NPN):
Published on 29 Nov. 2009 12:39 AM IST
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Nagaland chief minister, Neiphiu Rio claimed that a regional party like the NPF represented the unique identity of the Nagas which also stood to protect and preserve the Naga culture and aspirations in the face of numerous challenges confronting society. “We don’t have anything against the Centre or the Government of India, however, we need to represent the interest of our people and be their voice at national and international platforms. At times, national parties find it difficult to play this crucial role as these parties cannot deviate from their ideologies”, he said Addressing the NPF 5th General Convention held at the Multi-purpose Hall, IG stadium here on Saturday, Rio reiterated that early solution to the Naga political issue was through a negotiated settlement that was honourable and acceptable to the people which tops the agenda of both the DAN Government and the NPF. He said the government would continue to play the role of active facilitator in the peace process. He said the DAN government strived to create a congenial and desired atmosphere for the political negotiations to move on the right track. He expressed happiness on the unanimous resolution of the NLA to institute a Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Naga political issue. The chief minister said that the government, with the support of the NCP and some independent members, was functioning smoothly. He said the government was also backed by its various machineries whose capacity has greatly improved in recent years, thereby resulting in qualitative output. He however admit that no government was perfect and likewise it too hoped to keep improving with the continued support of all sections, especially the civil societies, churches, mass based organizations and NGOs. Rio also complimented the government machinery for its performance on several fronts especially in the conduct of road shows. “Successful conduct of road shows has brought the government machinery and the targeted sections not only closer but, they have come together in the same platform,” Rio said. On the government’s decision to coin Nagaland as “Land of festival” and the Hornbill festival as “festival of festivals,” Rio said the slogans would be used to paint positive image of the state to the outside world. On the successes of the state government, Rio said the young people from the state realized they were at par, if not better than their counterparts from other parts of the world. “One wonders, how high we can climb, if we were given equal opportunities and avenues with the rest of the country and the global community,” he said. Rio however opined there was still much more to be done and that the DAN government would continue to work for the people and strive to improve the welfare of the masses. He told party members that their performance would influence how people judged the party and called for introspection of its past performances and rededicate towards the cause of the people. He termed the general convention ‘historic’ as the party was ready to give wings to step beyond artificial man made boundary where the Nagas were longing for a re-union. “This decision is significant and has the potential of changing the destiny of our people in the times ahead,” Rio added. Earlier, NPF president Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu in his presidential speech dwelt at length on the origin, history and struggle of the Cock party since its inception in 1963 as a first registered political party in the state and the entire north east. “Today, we are the proud heirs of the first political party in Nagaland and we want our Naga brothers and sisters, where ever they may be, to inherit this legacy,” he said. Since inception, the first and foremost priority of the party was to work for solution to the Naga political problem and today too this regional party under the leadership of chief minister has done well in all fronts including the approach to the Naga political problem, Dr. Shurhozelie said. Reminding that the government of India has made its position clear that it was keen to solve the long standing Naga political problem, Dr. Shurhozelie urged the underground factions to come together to the same platform with one voice. He stressed on the need among different underground groups to come together as desired by their people. “Until and unless the underground factions come together, nothing will happen and the Naga people will continue to suffer,” he added. He also stressed on the need to learn from the past mistakes and look forward to plan for the future. Stating that political parties or underground factions might have committed mistakes in the past, Dr. Shurhozelie said “but all these have gone to the pages of history and we should not quarrel over the events that had happened in the past.” Both the MPs- Khekiho Zhimomi (RS) and C.M Chang(LS) and state minister for forest, environment, ecology and excise M. C. Konyak delivered short speeches on the occasion. Former minister from Manipur, Prof. Gangumei Kamei who is also the convenor of NPF in Manipur state spoke on behalf of NPF representatives from Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. On the occasion, the NPF party also felicitated the seven surviving members of the first Democratic Party of Nagaland (DPN) out of the total 12 and observed a minute’s silence to pay homage to the departed leaders.

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