I have no regrets vacating my chair: TR
Former Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang said he has no regrets of vacating the chair of Chief Minister after “some elements resorted to violent means demanding him to step down” saying he has handed over the chair to a person who loves the party and the people and who he said was sure to take the party and the party-led DAN Government to greater heights.
Addressing a huge NPF election rally at Tamenglong (Manipur) this afternoon, Zeliang said that he was dislodged “not because I had lost the support of the MLAs but because I am from a minority tribe in Nagaland. I had the support of the MLAs but people from outside the Assembly protested violently demanding that I should step down within a stipulated period. To contain these protestors, I could have brought in central forces like your Chief Minister Ibobi or Jammu & Kashmir had done. But for the sake of peace and harmony in the State, I chose to step down. But do not be disheartened. The Government is in good hands and better days are ahead,” he told the several-thousands strong NPF people and Zeliangrong gathering today drawing sympathetic nods and comments from the crowd.
On the conditions of the Hill Tribes of Manipur, Zeliang had this to say: “Everyone talks about the need for the various tribes of Manipur to come together and take up causes common to all of them. But there is no common platform. This is where the Naga People’s Front comes in to be the common platform. The NPF does not stand for the Naga tribals alone, but for all the tribes and communities of the Hill areas of Manipur. It is heartening to note that there are three Kuki candidates fighting elections this time on NPF tickets.”
On regional and national political parties, Zeliang said, “I am happy to note that people have realised about the difficulties of serving the constituents by remaining in national parties because they have to go by the decisions of their party High Command. But for regional parties like the NPF we do not have any High Command at the national level. The people are our High Command and we decide according to the wishes and aspirations of the common people. Unlike ours, national parties do not go by the aspirations of the common people and decisions are taken from Delhi which is very far from these remote corners of the country. The tradition of going by the decisions of party High Command is not good for the grass roots people.”
He went on to say that NPF party is one of the oldest regional parties in the country and has grown from strength to strength since “it stands with the people and never betrays the people. The sacrifice made by the four NPF legislators who resigned from the Manipur Assembly in protest against the three anti-tribal Bills shows that the NPF does not merely talk but implements its manifesto on the ground. If NPF candidates are elected, they shall work for the different tribes and communities of the Hill Districts.”
He went on to narrate that recent creation of districts like Nonei and Jeribam had further divided the villages of Tousem and Tamei sub divisions and that the Zeliangrong people were “badly divided by being placed in three different administrative states of Manipur, Assam and Nagaland which had made our people minorities in our respective States.
On how the 15 NPF candidates could play a role in the formation of the Government in the 60-member House, Zeliang said the present scenario indicates that no single political party can get majority in the 11th Assembly and that the “NPF will be the deciding factor in the formation of the next election.”
“We are not enemies of anyone but we shall ensure that the rights of the people are not taken away by anybody. We shall not allow anyone to take away the customary rights of the Hill tribes and communities of Manipur. Let us not walk backward, but walk forward for the welfare of the tribal people of the region,” Zeliang said.
Zeliang’s leadership has grown manifold: Yitachu
Nagaland Education Minister and Minister in charge of Manipur NPF, Yitachu said former Chief Minister TR Zeliang was cornered from the Supreme Court angle which was on the verge of delivering a verdict which could have gone against the cherished Article 371 A, and from “some civil organisations which expressed apprehensions that holding of ULB polls would go against customary practices of the Naga people, but that as a leader he had boldly decided to pre-empt the Supreme Court ruling and went ahead with the elections.
“As head of the Government, he decided to go by Constitutional obligations and if he desired he could have held on to his seat by making use of Central forces which the Centre offered. But as a true Naga leader he chose to step down so as to prevent the Naga society from going into more turmoil. But as a result of this supreme sacrifice he made, his leadership has grown manifold in the eyes of the legislators as well as the people of Nagaland. I am confident that he will soon come back to lead us one day,” Yitachu told a massive gathering of NPF functionaries and supporters at Tamenglong this afternoon.
Yitachu recalled how he along with former Chief Minister TR Zeliang went to Yangon as Chief Guest in a major international function involving India, Myanmar and Thailand at which he spoke extensively on the prospects of the Government of India’s Act East Policy and the urgent requirement for better road connectivity to improve trade and commerce among the South East Asian countries.
“The success of the Act East Policy of the Government of India will largely depend on the participation and involvement of the tribal people of the Northeast,” Yitachu said and appealed to the people of the region to open up their minds and extend full cooperation to the noble and grand ambition of the Government.
Yitachu also reminisced upon the reaction and emotion of the Nagas of Myanmar when he, along with former Chief Minister TR Zeliang, accompanied the then Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to Myanmar and raised the issue of the plight of the Nagas of Myanmar with the Government of Myanmar.
Yitachu further recalled how TR Zeliang, when he was the Member of Parliament Rajya Sabha from 2004 onwards, had frequent meetings and interactions with visiting Myanmarese officials including the Mynmar Ambassador to India to impress upon them to give a better deal to the Nagas of Myanmar.
“It was largely through the initiatives and efforts of TR Zeliang that the Naga people of Myanmar were recognised as a people of the country through a Constitutional amendment in 2008,” Yitachu said.
“The Nagas of Myanmar said they thought there were no tall Naga leaders to take up their cause with the Government of Myanmar and many cried with happiness that we had asked the Government of Myanmar to treat the Nagas there fairly and recognise them as a people of the country,” he said.
“Our experience in Myanmar has further made us more resolute in our determination to make the presence of NPF party felt in Manipur,” he said and went on to point out that if NPF get majority in the Hill areas, the party can play a big role in implementing in totality the provisions of Article 371 C which provides special dispensations to the Hills peoples of the State.
“However, left to itself, the Government of Manipur under the present ruling dispensation will not look after the welfare of the Hills people and so we must ensure that we get majority in the Hill districts,” he said.
“NPF alone can bring peace and tranquillity in Manipur. NPF can bring the true ideals of democracy to Manipur. We are in the process of creating History. Each of you sitting here today is a part of that history. Reach out and bring all others who are not here today to be part of that history we are creating,” Yitachu extolled. Earlier, Achumbemo, Spokesman of the NPF Party, extended the greetings of the NPF President and Chief Minister of Nagaland Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu to the people of Tamenglong.
He urged the people not to vote for the BJP because the party and its extreme wings are against Christians in the mainland. He also urged the voters not to vote for the Congress since “the policies and programmes of Chief Minister Ibobi Singh are divisive and against the tribals and minority communities of the State.” Achumbemo said the NPF represents the true sentiments ad aspirations of tribals and other communities of the Hill areas of Manipur and appealed to the voters to cast their votes for the party which stands by them and shall continue to stand by them.
BJP functionaries resign, support NPF
In a major political development at Tamenglong, BJP leaders Khangthonang Panmei, State Executive Member of the BJP Manipur and Pouhotlung, Executive Member BJP and ADC Member, Tamenglong resigned from the national party and joined the NPF to strengthen the hands of NPF Candidate for Tamenglong Assembly Constituency Janghemlung Panmei. Seen in the picture are leaders of the NPF today at Tamenglong warmly receiving the duo.
Media & Press Bureau
Naga People’s Front, Central Office