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SENAPATI, May 12: A large team led by Nagaland Chief Minister, T.R. Zeliang and President NPF Central HQ, Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu comprising of several Ministers, MLAs and Parliamentary Secretaries along with NPF Central HQ Youth wing, NPF Central HQ Women wing and all the executive of the NPF Central HQ Kohima, came to Senapati to kick start the Autonomous District Council Campaign for the 86 candidates today.
All the 86 candidates inclusive of women candidates and Kuki candidates were introduced on the occasion by General Secretary NPF MSU, Honreikhui Kashung.
Father P.O. Sebastian pronounced the blessing prayer for unity and peaceful conduct of campaign after the gathering sang the inspirational song ‘Send the light’ together.
Four candidates who won uncontested were also felicitated on the occasion.
Neiba Kronu, Parliamentary Secretary & Ministerial incharge of NPF, MSU said in his key note address said, “This is just the beginning for us to achieve our goals together.”
Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu, President, NPF Central HQ, Kohima, in his presidential address upheld and highlighted the party’s tenets, ‘NPF stands for inclusive unity and takes all the hill peoples as our people. We are a highly democratic party.’
He went further to say, ‘Our the party’s constitution, calls for responsibility of all members towards respecting and preserving our egalitarian traditional values and culture. To adhere to party disciplines to uphold non-violence and refrain from any untoward incidents to be exemplary candidates and uphold the party’s prestige in the region.’
‘NPF has made inroads into Manipur State like any other recognized political party in the country. We offer a platform for the hills people to unitedly defend our rights. We have made a humble beginning in Manipur by returning four MLAs in our first participation and are equally hopeful this time,’ he said.
He was resolute about limiting free expression, ‘NPF is the oldest regional party and we want to be in good terms with everyone. Free expression tending towards factional attempt which is likely to jeopardize party’s interest or incite communal tension and hatred among people is prohibited’
On a note of anticipatory countering, he said “Meiteis are more advanced than hill people and understand the mandate of recognized and registered political parties. Hence we expect them to extend the big brother role as good neighbours. Manipur is in fact a smaller version of India’s model of unity in diversity’, he lauded.
On ties with BJP, he explained that they are natural allies and hence the competition in election should be on friendly mode. ‘Even if we have no links with BJP in Manipur, our leaders should be mindful of this aspect,’ he added.
He stressed on party discipline “let us refrain from doing what is not in our party’s tradition or culture.”
Regarding interference, the president said, “We want to implement our political agenda with clear conscience and cannot compromise for fear or favour.”
Chief Minister T. R. Zeliang acknowledged the security cover provided by the host Government and extended his warm invitation to the Manipur Chief Minister to visit Nagaland too.
At the very outset he proclaimed, “Nagas are one and we shall remain united!” He narrated the historicity of pan Naga movement since 1928 by Naga Club to the present political movement of the Nagas to live together under one administration.
Citing that Nagaland Legislative Assembly had four times passed a resolution on this aspiration, he said, ‘We should continue to strive for social and emotional integration as one people across the borders. Lets continue to hope that this collective dream would soon materialize.’
He said, “Unity not at the cost of other communities’ rights living in our midst. We intend to uphold and restore our rights within the provision of the established constitution and not to encroach upon others land and others rights.”
“This should not be misunderstood by other communities,” he reiterated.
If we forget our identity and ethnicity, we would remain a divided minority hence we need to collectively rebuild socially and politically to preserve our distinct identity. This is the main objective of the NPF’s presence in Manipur: to give a common platform for all Nagas to stand as one. It is imperative to unite as tribals and as Nagas and reclaim respect in unity, he continued.
Instead of boycotting, it is better to participate so that we can change and improvise the system towards progressive development.
Autonomous District Council might need restructuring and more empowerment in functions and financial powers, he further said. Citing the unfortunate conduct of all official preparatory process of election held in Imphal instead of the districts, the Chief Minister questioned, ‘Where is your autonomy if you cannot conduct your Autonomous district council election in your own districts? It is a denial of our rights.’
‘If you vote for NPF, the party and the council will uphold the spirit of the real autonomy for all the tribals in the state. If needed, Nagaland government will also support you in this endeavour through NPF,’ he assured.
Trust in NPF and vote for NPF, he appealed. NPF led DAN government was recently joined by the eight Congress Opposition MLAs and we are now successfully united for early solution to Naga political issue. We have collectively formed a Joint Legislature Forum to pursue the Naga political solution, through dialogue and not by arms towards a permanent peace in our land.
It is our hope and prayer to have a free and fair election for the upcoming autonomous district council election, he said.
The NPF central team was accorded a warm welcome by the host NPF.
Party leaders of all ranks from all the hill districts and hundreds of supporters attended the campaign kick-off programme today at the Senapati headquarter main ground.
Alyson Abonmai entertained the gathering with soulful country music.