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Shinde assures Nagaland of peace

Khuzama, Feb. 18: Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the Centre was trying its best for a workable solution to the Naga political problem.

Addressing an election rally at Khuzama, some 25km from Kohima, Shinde said peace in the state was important for overall development.

He said there has been relative peace in states like Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Mizoram but Nagaland was still confronted with the problem of militancy.

“We have been trying to find a solution to the problem and develop Nagaland,” Shinde said. “I assure you that we will bring peace in the state.”

The NSCN (I-M) and the Centre have been engaged in a dialogue for the past 15 years and more. However, it is believed that the talks have now reached a “crucial stage” and an end was in sight.

Lashing out at the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), the home minister said in 10 years, chief minister Neiphiu Rio has done “nothing” for the state.

Moreover, the people who were in power pocketed funds from the Centre. “What have they done for the state?” he asked.

He said the condition of the roads was pathetic, and there was irregular power supply despite several thousand crores of rupees being sanctioned.

He, however, promised rapid changes and development if the Congress was elected to power.

“Wonderful days are ahead for the people of Nagaland,” Shinde said.

He demanded accountability from the NPF government and said while the country is progressing by leaps and bounds, Nagaland had remained stagnant because of bad governance and rampant corruption.

He said when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance took over from the NDA, the country’s growth rate was only three per cent but now it has reached nine per cent, which indicated that India was progressing.

Shinde also lauded the vision of former state president of the PCC and Congress MLA K.V. Pusa, and appealed to the people to elect him.

The veteran Congress lawmaker is contesting from Southern Angami-II constituency against NPF candidate Kropol Vitsu.

The home minister said Pusa is a capable leader who can bring changes not only in the constituency but in the state.

He appealed to the people to elect all Congress candidates from Kohima district.

Shinde also addressed a public meeting at Peren town and Tuli in Mokokchung district.

At Khuzama, the home minister was impressed with the gathering. Electioneering, which had a slow start in Nagaland, is now picking up momentum with both visiting and state leaders campaigning extensively in all districts for their respective candidates.

Among the star campaigners who have already visited the state are AICC president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

A Congress office-bearer today said the party would leave no stone unturned in its efforts to wrest power after hibernating for 10 years. “Look how desperate the NPF has become... the party wants to win the election at any cost,” he said, citing the arrest of the home minister under the Arms Act.