Kohima, Feb. 5: The Naga People’s Front has slammed chief minister Neiphiu Rio on his decision to contest the Lok Sabha elections, and criticised his “dictatorial style” of functioning.
A source said party president Shurhozelie Liezietsu disliked Rio’s defiance of the partners of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN).
Rio’s decision to contest the Lok Sabha has also bypassed the party and the pre-poll alliance commitments with the BJP and the JD (U), according to sources.
A search committee, comprising only cabinet ministers from the NPF, recommended Rio’s name for the polls. However, the NPF has resented that the party as a whole was not taken into confidence.
The BJP echoed similar sentiments.
The search committee included PHE minister Noke Konyak as convener, minister for planning and co-ordination T.R. Zeliang as member secretary and home minister G. Kaito Aye and minister for industries and commerce S. Pangnyu Phom.
Zeliang’s name has been hinted as doing the rounds as the next probable chief minister if Rio leaves for Delhi and Noke as deputy chief minister.
Kaito is also a strong contender for the post of chief minister.
The DAN leaders will meet in a day or two to sort out the differences.
The BJP said Rio has failed to maintain the pre-poll alliance commitments and added that the DAN would discuss the matter in their next meeting. The party said it has not committed to support the candidature of Rio for the Lok Sabha and that if commitments are shunned, it would not hesitate to field a candidate for the poll.
However, a source said Rio could keep them together for the past 11 years because of his style of functioning. Another NPF source said president Shurhozelie was only a rubber stamp and he would not dare challenge the authority of the chief minister.
Apart from Rio, the president of the NPF’s youth wing, Kakuto Shohe, and former president of Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Phushika Aomi, have applied for the ticket.