Dated August 6, 2017 | Kohima
A nascent Media Cell of an imaginary NPF party with a non-existent and unauthorized “Interim President” has raised ridiculous allegations against President of the Naga People’s Front Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu and Secretary General of the Party and MP (Rajya Sabha) KG Kenye of trying to banish and sideline both TR Zeliang and Neiphiu Rio by orchestrating negative campaigns against them.
This infant Media Cell would do well to learn more about the political history of the party and the political developments which took place in the State in the last two decades or so before trying to talk like a boy, forget about talking like an adult for the time being. For the benefit of this new-born Media Cell, no one has to do any negative campaigns against these two tall leaders because they themselves are very prominent leaders and in the last few years, their own actions – mostly ill-advised, selfish and without legalities – have attracted the spotlight of public scrutiny upon themselves and the verdict of the public has been unanimous that they ought to be trusted with public office as much as a kleptomaniac can be trusted with the offerings of a Sunday service!
The prominence of these two leaders has more to do with notoriety than anything else, and the genesis of their fame began something like this:
Rio, during Jamir’s Congress ministry, found it suffocating to remain under his leader when his ego and ambition ballooned into the size of several football fields and his colleagues found it obnoxious and began to avoid/ sideline him as best as they could. By the fag-end of the Congress ministry, Rio found he had landed himself in a not-so-enviable position of possibly being denied even the party ticket for the ensuing elections in 2003. And so, he orchestrated a grand political maneuver, hollow though it was to those who were in the know, by resigning from the Ministry in September 2002. It was a huge political development at that point of time because he was the then Home Minister; and to his erstwhile colleagues, a huge relief as they considered his departure as a very good riddance.
Like the proverbial homeless, poor and hungry tramp, Rio found he had nowhere to go. It was the Naga People’s Council, the forerunner of the NPF, which came to his rescue by way of clothing him and covering him from political shame, feeding him and satiating his hunger for power, and providing him a home from where he could recover and fight back. He was down and out, but this regional party nursed him back to good political health; he was dying with political and perceived wounds and injuries, but this regional party gave him relief and succor; he had fallen and was in disgrace, but this regional party gave him a name to proudly call his own.
And now, we are told that “the whole State and the people of Nagaland are well aware” that Rio revived Dr Shurhozelie’s political career from abject wilderness!
Right after Downsizing of the Ministry, Rio was reduced to a minority when in the later part of 2004, Z Obed mustered the support of 17 NPF legislators and demanded that Rio be replaced. But party President Dr Shurhozelie, who was elected to the post at the General Convention of the party in Dimapur in the later part of 2003 replacing Vizol even though he, Dr Shurhozelie was an elected member, extended full support to the then minority Chief Minister and Rio could overcome the revolt within the NPF party. Of course, this so-called Media Cell would like us to believe that it was his, Dr Shurhozelie’s, sheer greed for power that Rio remained in power though reduced to a minority in 2004-05!
It has been alleged that Dr Shurhozelie did everything possible to spoil Rio’s initiatives as an MP to be inducted into the Union Cabinet such as by “travelling to Delhi time and time again to meet Central leaders to spread misinformation about Rio and create hurdles” for his induction when, just the other day, this Media Cell had proudly announced to the world that Dr Shurhozelie could meet Central leaders only through the initiatives and contacts of TR Zeliang! Something is jarring here, or is it a revelation which has more to it than meets the eye? After all, TR Zeliang and Rio were not always the best of friends like they appear to be now. And isn’t it said that TR Zeliang has very good connections in Delhi, especially BJP and RSS connections?
To continue with the story of Rio’s induction into the Union ministry, TR Zeliang ought to elaborate how he desperately approached the party President and his colleagues in the latter half of 2014 informing them that Rio was on the verge of being inducted in the Modi Cabinet and that once it was done, his, TR’s leadership would be seriously compromised and also that Rio would try to take over the leadership of the party as well. It was through TR Zeliang’s insistence that Rio was suspended from the party, and perhaps, TR Zeliang would be honest enough to own it up, especially so since the two of them are together now.
It has been claimed that Dr Shurhozelie is a disputed and rejected President and that majority of the party is not with him. But as a matter of truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, Rio is the disreputed and dejected President: Dejected because he is the “interim President” and according to the NPF Constitution, there is no such post as Interim, Ad Hoc or Work Charged President; disreputed because Rio will go down the annals of Naga history in infamy as the successor of Mr Noke whose flash-in-the-pan tenure as President of the dissident NPF camp lasted only till the crisis lasted and had to attend the Special General Convention of the NPF on April 30, 2015 donning a skin thicker than that of a rhino, the Mascot of Kaziranga!
It is astounding how the expelled/ NPF legislators could console themselves with a make-believe “Amnesty period” of fifteen days when the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution of India clearly mentions that the political party can condone defiance of the Whip within fifteen days. This period is in no way an Amnesty as the erring legislators seem to think. Anyhow, defiance of the Whip issued by NPF Chief Whip Kiyanilie Peseyie occurred on July 21 and the fifteen day period to condone the travesty had already expired and there is no turning back: The die is cast!
The ill-advices that the Chief Minister TR Zeliang seems to be receiving has been made conspicuous when he filed disqualification petition against the ten NPF legislators. He is not the ticket-issuing authority for the NPF party and he never was. To begin with, he is not the Chief Whip of the NPF party and he would do well to keep in mind that if it was not for the queer action of the Speaker to support him. The whip issued by him ought to have been rejected outright.
All said and done, legality is with Dr Shurhozelie and TR Zeliang continues to be the Chief Minister by blatant aberration of the laws and sheer technicality.
Media & Press Bureau
Naga People’s Front Central Office