Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Thursday charged the Centre with “ignoring” the Naga political issue and alleged that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “never found time” to visit the state.
“The Prime Minister has not visited our state in the past 10 years. He comes to Congress-ruled states of Assam and Manipur every alternate month but misses Nagaland,” Rio said.
He was addressing a programme to distribute tickets to ruling Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) candidates for the February 23 Assembly poll and launch of the party’s manifesto.
“If they (central Congress leaders) care for the Nagas, why they didn’t come here in 10 years? While they have been dragging on the Naga political issue for 15 years without any solutions, they come only during elections and tell big lies,” Rio, also the NPF advisor, said.
Atal Behari Vajpayee was the last prime minister to have visited Nagaland in 2003, while AICC president Sonia Gandhi had been in the state for 2008 election campaign.
Rejecting Congress’ allegation that 10-year-rule of the NPF led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) was a failure on all fronts, Rio said “Their demand is not for solution of the vexed Naga political issue, but that the Prime Minister and other Union ministers should not visit Nagaland and that funds should not be given to the state.”
Asking NPF candidates not to be complacent, he said, “We have gained the support and confidence of the people. But as we have ruled for 10 years, there will be anti—incumbency factor“.
NPF president Dr Shelie Liezietsu unveiled the party’s election manifesto and said finding an honourable and acceptable solution to the Naga political issue had always been the top priority of the party.
Meanwhile, the state Congress said it would field 58 nominees for the 60 - member Assembly and support independent candidates in two constituencies.PTI