| Tokheho Yepthomi. Telegraph picture |
Zunheboto, Feb. 13: The Congress today promised a sea of change in Nagaland if voted to power.
Addressing mammoth gatherings at Zunheboto, Kiphire and Meluri, CLP leader Tokheho Yepthomi said his party was prepared to usher in all-round development in the state if voted to power.
Lashing out at the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) for bad governance and embezzlement of public money, he said chief minister Neiphiu Rio and other members of the government had become all businessmen and contractors just to make money. “You choose between businessmen and the people who want to serve society,” he said to the people.
The Congress leader said development funds did not reach the people and went to the pockets of a select few, including the chief minister, who had accumulated wealth worth crores of rupees.
He said the Congress was prepared to serve the people and do away with the gap between the haves and have-nots created by the NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government during its last 10 years of misrule.
Yepthomi said the Rio government had created so much of disparity in society that it was now almost beyond repair.
He said the condition of roads was pathetic, healthcare services were in bad shape, power supply was irregular and the education system was going downhill, among other things. Stating that these were some of the best examples of how the NPF had ruled the state, he asked the people to vote the Congress to power and see how the party could bring about changes in the state.
He said the Congress was capable of delivering the goods unlike the NPF.
Yepthomi said Rio has ruled the state with favouritism and that there was unequal distribution of development in the state.
At Zunheboto, he said Rio had not fulfilled the promises he had made to the people of Zunheboto nor did the MLAs who are in the government. This, he said, was clearly reflected by the prevailing condition of the town. He promised to fulfil the aspirations of the people if they voted the Congress to power.
Dubbing the DAN government as a “business government”, he also promised better roads and to do away with the 35-year term of service of state government of employees, retaining 60 years as the retirement age.
On the 33 per cent reservation for women in municipal and town councils, he said the state government first passed the legislation in the Assembly and then revoked it — a move that was humiliating for women of the state.
He said Rio has also severed all relations with neighbouring states, which was unbecoming of a government and was something unprecedented.
At Kiphire, he said the Congress could ensure allotment of Rs 1 crore to each of the 25 backward constituencies.
He assured the people of better roads and a cabinet berth to one of the Congress candidates if elected. He also promised creation of a separate branch at the secretariat to monitor proper implementation of backward class reservation in government departments.
On Rio’s assertion that he was ready to go to jail for the sake of Naga people, Yepthomi said the former would go to jail only because of rampant corruption and for siphoning off public money.
Former deputy chief minister I.K. Sema, who accompanied the CLP leader, said Rio’s only vision for the Nagas involved accumulation of wealth and property. He also highlighted several anomalies in different departments, especially health.
The two Congress leaders also addressed the public at Meluri town. They were impressed by the huge turnout in all three rallies.