New Delhi, Dec. 11 (ANI): Recently, the lone Nagaland Member of Parliament Neiphiu Rio had stepped down from the presidentship of the Naga People's Front (TR) party, but not before accusing Chief Minister T R Zeliang of running a signature campaign behind his back.
In an exclusive interview with ANI, Rio said his decision to step down was for the bigger goal of reconciliation among Nagas and to facilitate talks between Nagas and the Government of India.
A three-time Chief Minister of Nagaland and current Member of Parliament, Rio said, "My stepping down from the post of presidentship is the goal of the Election Commission of India for reconciliation, and also, it is high time for Nagas to reconcile and come together for the sake of Naga politics because we are talking about inclusive solution with all the underground groups."
He further said, "Recently, the legislature and ex-parliamentarians also decided to pass a resolution to defer election if solution cannot come. The desire and demands of the people is to give settlement before the election. So, on this line, I also took my decision after consulting with my friends in the party and tendered my resignation. I will also be submitting my resignation letter to the Election Commission of India."
When enquired about his plan on contesting at the upcoming state assembly election in February 2018, considering his commitment to the people, Rio said he will contest if his people wish him to and still need his services.
"That depends on the people. I have not decided what to do. I will see the situation and if people want me to contest, I will contest, because though I am in Delhi or Nagaland, I am committed to serve the people. I will decide by the wish of the people," he added.
Rio also assured that his move will not affect the ongoing talks between the NSCN-IM and the Government of India.
He said, "No, this is a dispute in the Naga People's Front Party. There is nothing to do with the talk; in fact, it will be in favour with the talk in bringing the whole Nagas together through reconciliation."
Though, Rio is not actively involved in the negotiation talks between the Government of India and NSCN-IM, his contribution towards the Nagas cause is invaluable. Being the lone MP from Nagaland, he continues to speak-up the desire and demands of the Nagas people for peaceful settlement at the Parliament House and various other platforms.
"I am not involved in the negotiation, but I am aware what is happening because I always discussed with the Government of India and also the Naga Nationalist group. And, I am aware that the physical integration is not possible but emotional, political and cultural integration should be done," said the Nagaland MP.
He further added, "Because, for the first time the Naga nationalist group is coming very close together with the Government of India. So, this is an opportunity for a solution. And, the desire and demands of the Nagas is a peaceful settlement which will bring hope to the youth and developmental activities to the society because peace is the pre-requisite qualification for all kind of round developments."
In a letter to Zeliang, Rio said that he had taken up the presidential post since he (TR) had misunderstandings and conflict with the former chief minister and then NPF President Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu. He also stated that "I took over as the president on the demand of the MLAs and party leaders under your leadership and your request. Therefore, if you were of the opinion that I am no longer required, then it should have been informed to me and I would have willingly resigned, as I only took up the responsibility due to the request of you and your colleagues."
Till the time of interview with ANI, Rio has not received reply from Zeliang. (ANI)