Imphal/Kohima, Jan. 8: The Manipur PCC has urged its Nagaland counterpart to refrain from including any agenda in the party’s election manifesto that could disturb the state’s territorial integrity.
“We urge the Nagaland PCC not to promise anything in the election manifesto, which could harm Manipur’s interest on the territorial boundary,” deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, who is also the president of Manipur Congress, said today.
Gaikhangam’s appeal came the day after a visit by a five-member team from Nagaland PCC headed by former Nagaland chief minister and Congress Working Committee member S.C. Jamir to Imphal yesterday.
The team included the leader of Congress Legislature Party, Tokheho Yepthomi, former Nagaland Congress president K.V. Pusa and former minister and convener of the political affairs committee K. Therie.
Gaikhangam expressed the hope that the neighbouring state would not do anything to harm Manipur’s interest as the Centre had instructed earlier that no state could do anything that would affect the interest of another state.
“The Manipur PCC will respond if its Nagaland counterpart does anything to disturb Manipur’s boundary. We cannot accept such a proposition,” Gaikhangam said.
Gaikhangam said the team had come here to seek support from chief minister and the Manipur Congress in Jamir’s bid to return to power. Jamir was assured all possible help, he added.
On the other hand, Ibobi Singh told the Nagaland Congress leaders that he could not go against the wishes of his people but would continue to support the Naga peace process. He assured the Naga leaders that he would support any agreement, provided it was acceptable to his people.
“We think an early solution to the talks would usher in peace in Nagaland and Manipur,” Therie said.
He added that Manipur leaders had also agreed that the solution to the vexed Naga political problem would bring peace in the region. However, he said to bring permanent peace in the region, more consultation was needed.
Therie said they were requested by Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to visit Manipur in an effort to convince Manipur leaders, including chief minister Ibobi Singh to support the ongoing talks between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M).
He said Ibobi Singh was quite reasonable towards the talks. But he quoted Ibobi Singh saying he did not know the full contents of the talks between the Centre and NSCN (I-M).
The term of the Nagaland Assembly will end on March 18 and the election is likely to be held either in late March or early April.
The Congress has been out of power for the past 10 years in Nagaland, with the Naga Peoples Front under the leadership of Neiphiu Rio ruling the state for two consecutive terms.
The Assembly election will take place at a time when the Centre is trying to sign a peace agreement with the NSCN (I-M) around March this year. The outfit is seeking integration of Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with Nagaland under one administrative unit.
Naga organisations in Manipur led by the United Naga Council, the apex body of Nagas in Manipur, have also been demanding an alternative administrative arrangement for Nagas living in the state outside the purview of Manipur government, till the time the NSCN (I-M) reaches an agreement with the Centre.
Last year, too, Jamir had met Ibobi Singh and other Manipur Congress leaders here. Nagakand chief minister Neiphiu Rio had also expressed willingness to sit with his Manipur counterpart to discuss the Naga peace process but so far there has been no response.