Congress and Naga People’s Front (NPF) have joined hands to give a combined fight to defeat ruling People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) in the May 28 by-election to Nagaland parliamentary constituency.
Congress has decided not to contest the by-poll, saying the NPF announced its candidate C Apok Jamir for the seat after having agreed in principle to its proposal for fielding a combined opposition candidate to uphold the principles of secularism and democracy.
The PDA has fielded Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) member Tokheho Yepthomi as its consensus candidate for the by-poll.
On Monday, Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) president K Therie shared a common platform with NPF candidate Apok and other NPF leaders at Pfutsero in Phek district at a campaign rally to drum up support for the latter.
According to a communiqué issued by NPF press bureau, central headquarters, Therie gave a clarion call to all secular forces to come together and save the state from “communal forces”.
Congress has decided to support Apok as its concern was to save Nagaland from “communal forces”, Therie was quoted as saying by the communiqué. He was hopeful that the NPF candidate would live up to the expectations of the party to uphold the principles of secularism and liberal democracy.
“Our concern is to save Nagaland from communal forces, and therefore the Congress has agreed in principle to support C Apok Jamir in this 2018 Lok Sabha election. We hope he will live up to the expectations of the party to uphold the principles of secularism and liberal democracy,” he said.
“BJP is never a political party that belonged to the Nagas but is here to confuse the mindsets of the youngsters with their Hindutva policies,” the NPCC chief said. He emphasized that secular minded political parties must come together to defeat the imposition of Hinduism in “God-given land” leaving aside all political differences.
The NPF led by former chief minister TR Zeliang brought all the 11 Congress legislators into its fold during its previous regime, making the state Assembly oppoisitionless.
Alleging that hundreds of Naga youths were being sponsored by RSS in their schools, some of whom have already become ministers, Therie said, “NDPP which came into existence just recently and is in unholy marriage with BJP and is not different from the BJP.”
Therie also warned Nagas against taking BJP-RSS and its alliance parties very lightly as it would have “serious ramifications on the Naga society in particular and the whole nation in general in the coming years.”
NPF legislator Yitachu, in his address, asked the PDA government headed by Neiphiu Rio why their actions do not match with their slogan “Change is coming”, accusing the government of involving itself in fault-finding exercises concerning their opponents.
He termed the PDA government as a “gossip-mill government” to escape their own glaring weaknesses.
NPF candidate Apok made a fervent appeal to the electorate to vote for him, saying “Your one precious vote will determine our future; that one vote to show we are Nagas.” He asked if they are ready to do it for the Nagas.