| NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah |
Kohima, Feb. 8: Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio has hinted at an offer from the Centre of an economic package to militants to settle the long pending Naga political problem.
Rio, at an election meeting at Jotsoma village council hall in western Angami Assembly constituency last evening said in case of a settlement, the Centre was ready to sanction a larger economic package for the state.
So far, people have been in the dark about the details of the peace talks between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) — which is about to complete 16 years of truce — after over 70 rounds of talks.
He added that the Centre was also ready to increase the seats in the state Assembly, sanction the formation of an Upper House and more seats in Parliament.
Rio said this arrangement would ensure the presence of more Naga representatives in decision-making organisations.
He was speaking at the birthplace of the founder of Naga nationalism, A.Z. Phizo.
NSCN general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah had also addressed the public at the same hall in 2010, assuring them that his organisation would not betray the people and that they were engaged in talks with the Centre for an honourable and acceptable solution for all the Naga people.
However, the Naga National Council, founded by Phizo, which still refuses to compromise on the sovereignty issue, has a strong base in this constituency.
The constituency has 25 polling stations with 16,236 voters.
Two-time Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie will be contesting against Congress candidate Asu Keyho from Mezoma village and Huzo Meru, Independent candidate from Khonoma village.
The two candidates are trying to take advantage of the anti-incumbency factor against the Speaker.
A strong believer of Christ and a church worker, Kiyanilie said he was yet to complete his task and, therefore, should be elected for a third term.
He said a lot has been done in his constituency over the last 10 years but there is still more to be done.
“I want to complete the task,” he added.
Born on August 1, 1947, Kiyanilie, who had resigned as additional excise commissioner, said people are yet to harness the rich potential of the constituency.
Chief minister Rio also assured Kiyanilie of a cabinet berth if he is re-elected.
The Speaker’s opponent, Huzo, also a theologian and a church worker, has promised major changes in his constituency.