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Pusa rules out support to NPF

Kohima, Feb. 18: The Congress said it would soon announce the name of its candidate for the forthcoming Lok Sabha election.

Reacting to the Naga Peoples Front statement seeking the Congresss support during Lok Sabha election, the Opposition Congress said it would soon announce the name of its candidate, who would work in the interests of the Naga people, unlike the former, which had fooled the people with false promises.

The convener of the search committee and former PCC president, K.V. Pusa, said names have been shortlisted. He said the welfare of the people was on top of the Congress agenda.

Congress sources said the party high command wanted Pusa to contest.

There were other names doing the rounds like former chief minister K.L. Chishi, former finance minister K. Therie, former Lok Sabha candidate Roland Lotha and Chuba Ao.

Pusa today said several top Congress leaders have approached him to be the partys candidate. The party leaders in Delhi have been asking me to contest, he told The Telegraph.

The former Congress president will leave for New Delhi for further discussions with the party high command.

We request people to support the Congress. Our party is for the grassroots people, Pusa said.

Pusa totally rejected the idea of supporting the NPFs candidate and said four MPs were sent to Parliament to speak for the welfare of the people but they had betrayed the masses.

The NPFs MPs were former MP (Lok Sabha) W. Wangnyu Konyak, former MP (Rajya Sabha) T.R. Zeliang, former MP (Lok Sabha), C.M. Chang, now minister for school education in the state and sitting MP (Rajya Sabha) Khekiho Zhimomi had contested twice in the state general elections but lost.

Zeliang is also currently minister for planning and coordination and eyeing the post of chief minister if Rio leaves for New Delhi.

On reports of the BJPs assurance to Rio for an early settlement of Naga political problem, Pusa who is also convener of the political affairs committee of the Congress, said even during the time of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, there were several rounds of talks between the Centre and the NSCN led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thiungaleng Muivah but no solution could be hammered out.

He said the BJPs assurance was simply empty rhetoric to woo voters.

On Rios association with the BJP, he said, Rio should keep in mind that India is a secular country, as is Nagaland, while he is trying to align with a communal party.

The Congress leader said while Rio had said there was no high command in his party, he is now regularly meeting the top BJP leaders, including Narendra Modi, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitey, Sushma Swaraj and others.