Himanta Sarma on Naga political mission

Himanta Sarma on Naga political mission
Himanta Biswa Sarma (File)
Correspondent KOHIMA, NOV 8 (NPN) | Publish Date: 11/8/2020 1:19:15 PM IST


Assam Finance minister and North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convener Himanta Biswa Sarma arrived Kohima on a one-day lightning visit Sunday to meet with state chief minister Neiphiu Rio.

According to informed sources, Sarma who has of late, become the BJP’s ‘man in the North East’ after BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav was shifted, has been keeping in touch with both chief minister Neiphiu Rio and opposition NPF leader T.R. Zeliang over the Naga political issue.

Sarma’s visit to Kohima also assumes significance in the light of discussions held between chief minister Neiphiu Rio and leader of opposition T.R. Zeliang on the vexed Naga political issue with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on October 20.

The sources also disclosed that Sarma, was concerned that NPF has not endorsed the October 15 resolutions adopted at the meeting of various political parties, NGOs, Tribe Hohos and civil society groups. 

Sources privy to the meeting disclosed to Nagaland Post that as NEDA convener, Sarma was assigned by Union Home minister Amit Shah with the task of studying the political situation in Nagaland and also hold discussions with JLF, PDA and NPF including civil society groups. Sarma is tasked with getting everyone on board before a final agreement was inked over the protracted Naga issue. 

The main point that the Union Home minister had focussed on was– to have all political parties and legislators come together so as to endorse the October 15 resolutions.

During the closed-door meeting on Sunday, Sarma requested chief minister Neiphiu Rio to convene a special session of Nagaland Legislative Assembly to endorse the October 15 resolutions. 

Earlier, Sarma had also reminded NPF to endorse the October 15 consultative meeting resolutions. 

Sources added that Sarma was also concerned about the frosty relationship between PDA and NPF following the withdrawal of the latter from the Joint Legislators’ Forum at the present crucial juncture.

Before his departure to Guwahati, Sarma also held a brief meeting with Nagaland BJP leaders, sources told PTI. 

Meanwhile, Sarma told a news channel that “It was only a courtesy call to chief minister Rio and no serious discussions were held.”

“There is a set of government officials, who is engaged actively with the NSCN (I-M) collective leadership, and I am convinced there will be some good news at some point of time. But these are very complex issues you cannot get a solution just out of one, two or three meetings... This is a complex issue and you need to resolve it bit by bit.

“The officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the NSCN (I-M) are making progress, but what is happening or what has happened or what will happen will be difficult for us to comment at this stage.

“Solution has to be one, but let the discussions be concluded with NSCN (I-M) first and then we will take the common draft to everybody we should go step by step,” the NEDA convenor told the news channel.

It may be mentioned that the purpose of the November 5 joint press meeting was to primarily bring both PDA and NPF together on the same page (after NPF formed its own PAM) over the Naga political issue and also to endorse the October 15 resolution-- “one solution for one people”, but it remained deadlocked as NPF was yet to endorse the resolutions.

Though both Rio and Zeliang addressed the joint press conference, nothing came out of it since there was no breakthrough. 

Instead, NPF leader T.R. Zeliang proposed formation of a new Legislators Forum with a new name and headed by the chief minister and not the Speaker. Zeliang also requested the convening of a special session of the assembly to adopt resolutions on solution to the Naga political issue.

At the joint press meet, chief minister Neiphiu Rio implied that there was no need to form another new legislators forum of all parties since JLF exists with MLAs from other parties except NPF. 

He instead requested NPF to rejoin the JLF. He also rejected the proposal that he head the proposed forum since it was to be an-all party forum and that the Speaker NLA was the right person to head it. Media persons could not ask any questions since the meeting was called off soon after the leaders had spoken.


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