Opposition NPF slams Rio

DIMAPUR, JUN 26 (NPN) | Publish Date: 6/26/2019 11:44:00 AM IST

NPF has accused chief minister Neiphiu Rio of practising immoral politics and using money and muscle power to win support for his coalition government. 

Recalling how Rio had once boasted how under his leadership BJP was totally wiped from Nagaland in 2003, the opposition party in a statement said the NDPP-led PDA government started from a very noxious setup. The statement pointed how while NPF was in negotiation with BJP over seat sharing, Rio’s NDPP offered 20 seats on a platter to BJP out of the blue. 

“Had NDPP contested on its own and not hijacked the deal, which was being worked out, they would have had a bitter result and left squirming,” it added. 

Following the deal, NDPP won 18 seats, with one under questionable circumstances, while BJP won 12 seats, thus taking their combined number to 30, one short of the required number to form a government. 

And according to NPF, this was the juncture when Rio started his immoral politics. He first allegedly robbed the lone JD (U) MLA and kept one of the two NPP MLAs under confinement, as these two political parties were pre-poll alliance partners of NPF. 

Claiming that even the lone Independent MLA had approached it first and pledged support, NPF alleged that even before it could be made official, Rio’s “cohorts” got hold of him and offered plump portfolio and thus got his support. This was the start of the NDPP-led PDA government that was rife with horse-trading and nefarious back channelling, it claimed. 

As if enough immorality had not already been committed by NDPP and had 34 members in the government, the opposition party alleged that the merger of two NPP MLAs and the lone JD (U) MLA now into NDPP only proved that Rio would stop at nothing and care for no one to achieve his selfish goals. The two parties’ MLAs were constituents of the PDA even before their merger with NDPP, hence merging to strengthen the PDA government now was beyond comprehension, it observed. 

NPF alleged that the actual game plan started on the day the Assembly election results were announced as Rio had managed to illegally “steal” the 6th Tening Assembly constituency for NDPP candidate Namri Nchang even after the winning certificate was issued to its candidate NR Zeliang by the returning officer (RO). 

Claiming that this was the first instance in the country where an RO had served another winning certificate to another candidate the next day, the opposition party said the matter was now at Guwahati High Court, which would give its judgement soon. 

NPF also wondered why the State was left with a record Rs 1,234-crore deficit during Rio’s earlier 11-year tenure as chief minister though he had started with a surplus, courtesy the one-time grant by then Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and drawing Rs 735 crore as additional fund in 2018-19, as answered in the Assembly during budget session. 

Mentioning that Rio had failed to give a detailed account of how such huge amount of money was spent as sought by leader of opposition (LoP) TR Zeliang, NPF recalled that the LoP had even insisted that the government give an answer to the question even in the media. But till today, the government was tight-lipped in this regard, which only proved that this government was not as transparent and accountable as they proclaimed themselves, it added. 

“Just as the formation of the government was mired with unfair means, so also is the performance of the government that lacks the much-needed transparency and accountability,” it emphasised. 

Claiming that the additional fund released was actually a short-term loan from RBI to meet the State’s emergency needs, NPF explained that if the State failed to return the amount within a stipulated time, the same would get accumulated and be part of the State deficit. It said the high rate of interest would keep bogging down the fiscal health and the common people would ultimately face ugly consequences. 

Asking Rio what had done with the Rs 735 crore in 2018-19, the opposition party said it speculated that the entire amount was perhaps used to nudge the MLAs to shift loyalty and merge with his party and continue poaching and horse-trading unabated. 

Urging Naga people to speak out against the “sinister activities, lest a select few unscrupulous persons rain down devastating repercussions” in the long run by creating more and more liabilities to the State exchequer, NPF said the money spent on buying loyalties of MLAs was only for convenience of a single party at the expense of the people was questionable and condemnable. 


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