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Naga integration a distant dream: NPF

Kohima, Jan. 31: The Naga People’s Front (NPF) today ruled out an early solution to the Naga political problem stating that it had become a distant dream owing to the lack of unity between the community’s rebel groups. It, instead, called for “emotional integration” of Nagas living in different areas.

Speaking during NPF’s ticket distribution programme at the party’s central office here today, party president Shurhozelie Liezietsu said, “Unless Nagas unite, nothing would come out of the peace process.” He, however, said his party would continue to pursue an early settlement of the issue with the Centre.

The party also released its manifesto today that said geographical integration may not be immediately possible, while calling for emotional integration among Nagas. “The reality of the day is such that though we aspire for integration, it may not be immediately possible,” it stated.

The party said its moral and emotional support had all along been with the Nagas living in Myanmar. “Through our initiatives we are providing a platform wherein all Nagas can come together, thereby paving the way for emotional integration of the pan-Naga family,” the manifesto stated.

The party suggested that the Nagaland Assembly should continue to pass resolutions on Naga integration to keep the issue alive.

The party also sought divine intervention to help it come back to power. Surhozelie and chief minister Neiphiu Rio asked party candidates to seek divine help to garner “absolute majority” in the elections.

“We are confident of coming back to power as the aspirations and hopes of the people are pinned on us,” Rio said, while admitting that there was an anti-incumbency wave in the state.

He asked the candidates to work hard and try to convince people about the party’s policies and objectives. “Getting the party ticket is the beginning, not the end,” he told the gathering.

He also lashed out at the Opposition Congress for levelling allegations on the NPF though the party itself had no agenda to take to the people.

Rio said despite NPF being part of the UPA government at the Centre, the Prime Minister has not visited Nagaland for 10 years, which reflected that the state was not on Manmohan Singh’s radar. He asked people not to get carried away by the false promises made by the Congress.

The chief minister said the Congress leaders, instead of working for the welfare of Nagas, had conspired with adversaries like Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh, which, he said, was an insult to the state’s people.

The Congress also distributed tickets among its candidates at Dimapur today. The party is contesting in 58 seats and will support Independent candidates in Wakching in Mon and Kohima town.