Opposition NPF takes a dig at Rio, Patton

DIMAPUR, MAR 20 (NPN) | Publish Date: 3/20/2019 12:11:19 PM IST

Opposition NPF has hit out at the ruling PDA and termed the formal launch of its parliamentary electoral campaign at DDSC Stadium Dimapur on Tuesday as “nothing short of a public display of the two biggest political chameleons in Naga politics, Neiphiu Rio and Yanthungo Patton”.

In a hard hitting statement, the opposition party recalled that in 2002, a year before the State Assembly elections of 2003, Rio had deserted Dr SC Jamir, then chief minister of Nagaland, in protest against the book “Bedrock of Naga Society”. Written by Jamir, the book that stated that the 16 Point Agreement was the final solution between the Nagas and Government of India (GoI) was vehemently condemned by Rio at that time. In pursuance to the 16 Point Memorandum submitted to GOI in July 1960, Article 371(A) was inserted in Part XXI of the Constitution of India by the 13th Amendment Act, 1962 and the State of Nagaland under the Indian Union was created as the 16th State. Article 371(A), which has been the subject of discussion in recent times, is an outcome of the 16 Point Agreement, the party added.

NPF pointed out that Rio had recently declared that any Naga talking against Article 371(A) would tantamount to betrayal of the Naga people. He had also asserted that the Nagas were protected by Article 371(A) against the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB). This was evidently clear by his statement delivered during the Budget Session on February 22, 2019.

The opposition party said this double-standard attitude of Rio was highly objectionable as in 2002 he had resigned as home minister from Jamir’s cabinet in protest against the 16 Point Agreement that gave birth to Article 371 (A) and today he states that the very same Article protects the Nagas even from the CAB.

Asserting that it would never forget the grievous agenda of Rio “now or even in the distant future”, the opposition party said he cannot be allowed to mislead the Naga people any further. NPF said the chief minister had even stated that Naga Integration was not possible while also maintaining that any Naga speaking against Article 371(A) was a traitor. 

As the chief minister’s chair was not permanent, the statement reminded him that marketing the Naga cause at the expense of Naga political issue would not sustain, adding history would never forget him for “marketing” the Naga cause for the chief minister’s chair.

NPF further termed Rio’s dig at NPF on the issue of putting put candidate in the ensuing Lok Sabha election as “nothing but amusement” as it was an internal affair of the party concerned in which he did not have any role to play. “The NPF is capable of handling its own affairs and will bring the matter to the public domain with the right explanation at the right time,” it added.

Meanwhile, also hitting out at deputy chief minister Y. Patton, NPF alleged that he was the “camp commander”, not only during the camping at Kaziranga but during every crisis that he had exploited by bargaining for better position. 

NPF alleged that Patton, who did not bother about progress or development, was rather a champion in corruption and backdoor appointment. 

The hypocrisy was in full public display at DDSC Stadium on March 19, it added.

The opposition party said the track record of Patton, who had ditched his leaders under successive governments of Rio, TR Zeliang and Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu, was for everyone to see. 

“Under Liezietsu in 2017, he continued with the same portfolio and deceitfully backed TR Zeliang even as he tried again for change of guard in December 2018 where he misfired. Prior to this, Patton had betrayed BJP by merging with NPF under Rio’s leadership while today he is displaying his loyalty to BJP. No one can predict where he will shift, if BJP loses the upcoming Lok Sabha Election,” it warned.

NPF claimed that Patton had also cursed Rio for all those turbulent days created within NPF and today was praising the same Rio as a “tall leader” because he has been made the deputy chief minister with additional portfolios of home and national highways.

NPF recalled that Patton was elected MLA on a BJP ticket and, when the party failed at the Centre, he immediately resigned and joined then ruling NPF and contested the by-election on a NPF ticket. 

According to the party, this was the “true face of this so-called BJP leader”, who will move to any ruling party when his parent party fails to remain in power. He can talk about achievements in the home and national highway department under the PDA government, but if he mocks the previous government, everything he spoke against Rio then will be revealed in detail, it warned. 

NPF asked Patton to remember what he had uttered because memory of the Naga people was not as short as he thinks it to be. 

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