Kohima, April 21, 2019:
In a shocking twist, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, whose Government is in an alliance with the BJP, has pledged his support to Congress President Rahul Gandhi in case the Congress party forms a Government at the Centre.
This came to light after a ‘Top Confidential’ letter that Rio had written to the Congress leader reached InsideNE where the Chief Minister has apparently pledged his support to the Congress in case they form the Government at the Centre at the conclusion of the ongoing elections.
This ‘top confidential’ letter is a big deal because Rio’s National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), which came into existence in October 2017, is affiliated with the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), the anti-Congress coalition convened by Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Rio’s apparent willingness to desert the NEDA in case of a Congress victory shows that for many of these North-Eastern regional parties, the NEDA has served its purpose and is seen as a declining power in the region.
The ‘Top Confidential’ letter addressed to Rahul Gandhi reads: “Consequent to our telephonic conversation, the Coalition partners of the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) Government in Nagaland have taken place. The matter of forging an alliance with the Indian National Congress (INC) and to be part of a secular Government under your dynamic leadership, in the event of Government at the Centre is agreed upon in principle.”
Moreover, Rio, in the letter stated that after seven MLAs from the opposition NPF party “joined hands” with the PDA Government, more are expected to soon follow suit. Further, Rio stated that the PDA Consensus candidate Tokheho Yepthomi would win the Nagaland Lok Sabha seat with a “thumping majority”.
“With this in view, as stated above, the understanding between us is agreed upon in principle and you may kindly consider our acceptance to support your leadership in the event of Government formation after the Lok Sabha elections”, states Rio.
It may be mentioned that the use of the word “secular” in the letter shows that the people in the Nagaland region see the BJP party as a ‘Hindu’ party, especially after the ruckus over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill which sought to grant citizenship to persecuted non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
Whereas, in reaction to this, the NDPP has released a statement stating, “The propagators of false propaganda and lies have once created false and fake document by forging the signatures of the Chief Minister and NDPP president.They have created fake documents and the content of the fake letter are completely ridiculous and deserve no explanation nor any comment. In their frustration, due to total failure and desperation, our adversaries have once again attempted to create confusion by creating such fake news This latest strategy of our adversaries exposes the fact the that they have completely run out of vision and political direction and have completely failed to provide any semblance of leadership. The matter will be dealt with in the most serious manner and appropriate action as per the laws of the land will be taken up. The party will file an FIR and ensure that such actions are punished in the most severe manner.”