Amid widespread condemnation of the “communal and inflammatory” speeches of the Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in Manipur, Congress MLA Biren Nongthombam has lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India.
In his complaint the MLA says that Mr. Rio has violated the model code of conduct and that through these inflammatory speeches he is stoking the communal fire in the state.
Mr. Neiphiu Rio, the Chief Minister of Nagaland, is also adviser to the Naga People’s Front, a coalition partner of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland now in power. Earlier, it was named the Nagaland People’s Front. However, the nomenclature was changed so that some politicians could contest the Assembly elections in Manipur in 2012. It had won 4 seats in the 60 member House in the state.
Reports said that in his last public address in Senapati district Mr. Rio said that the Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh is “anti-Naga and anti-Kuki”. On the basis of the complaints from the Manipur government, the Assam Rifles camps in Tamenglong district of Manipur did not permit the helicopter bringing Mr. Rio to land there. However, the NPF is planning to bring this star campaigner to other hill districts. But in view of the complaint lodged with the ECI, there may be a change of strategy on the part of the NPF and Mr. Rio.
The Manipur Deputy Chief Minister and Pradesh Congress Committee president Gaikhangam Gangmei says that the NPF is a “communal party” and there is no dispute about it since it represents the Nagas only. It does not make any difference that a handful of “anti-social elements” had joined it. Mr. Gangmei deplored the way Mr. Rio has been launching a broadside against the Manipur Chief Minister to drive a wedge among the communities who have been living for generations in harmony.
Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Nongthombam said that the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections are very crucial since the integrity of Manipur’s territory is at stake. There is a hidden agenda behind the way Mr. Rio, a powerful Chief Minister, is contesting the lone Lok sabha seat of Nagaland. If he wins and the BJP forms the next union government Mr. Rio will get a ministerial berth since the two parties are partners in Nagaland. It will mean that Mr. Rio will get a free hand to go ahead with his plan for the unification of the “Naga areas” with Nagaland. In fact this is reflected in the poll manifesto of the NPF, he added. He claimed that the Congress alone could protect the territory of Manipur.