DIMAPUR: The Rising People’s Party (RPP) said Nagaland requires a strong regional party to protect the interest of the state.

With the Naga People’s Front (NPF) “rendered crippled” and the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) “soon to be extinct”, the Nagas are entering an era of fear and confusion, the RPP said in a statement on Sunday.

The party quoted a senior journalist based in New Delhi who wrote on July 31, 2022, “In 2023, after election, the NDPP may merge with the BJP, that is, if at all the alliance manages to come to power.” The NDPP has not refuted this news, it said.

The party said if this information is correct, chief minister Neiphiu Rio and the 41 NDPP MLAs and all the rank and file of the NDPP are now basically “karyakartas” of the BJP.

“The post-2023 election merger of the NDPP into the BJP presents a clear and present danger to the state.

“From championing regionalism/Naga identity to embracing a national party is called opportunistic politics, and when the party is none other than the NDPP it is nothing less than plain treachery,” the RPP said.

Therefore, the RPP appealed to all the rank and file of the NDPP to leave the party without delay.

According to the RPP, the present CM, since 2003, has championed himself as a regional strongman and managed to keep Delhi at bay. Keeping aside the allegations of corruption and personal enrichment, credit should be given to him for keeping the Naga identity flag flying high, it said while acknowledging his leadership.

“But today fortress Nagaland is in danger, thanks to the merger pact,” it said.

The party alleged that the NDPP has betrayed the strong regional spirit of the Naga people, the same people who elected Rio as the CM on four consecutive occasions.

During this period of leadership crisis and utter confusion, the RPP said, though young, it is ready to rise to the occasion and stand, guard and protect “our people” where others have failed.

Stating that it is for solution to the Naga issue, the RPP said if there is no solution and election is held as scheduled next year, the “soon-to-be-extinct” NDPP should not be allowed to take the Nagas for a ride.

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