Coinciding with his 50 years in active politics, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, often addressed as the “tallest leader” of Nagaland today, addressed a mass rally today in Town Hall, Mokokchung. The rally, organized in support of PDA consensus candidate for the Lok Sabha election 2024, Dr Chumben Murry, saw CM Rio lauding Murry as the “most capable” candidate to represent the Nagas in Indian parliament.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio addressing the PDA mass rally for Lok Sabha election 2024 in Mokokchung on 5 April

Addressing the gathering, CM Rio reminisced, “This year marks my 50th year in politics,” tracing back to his beginnings as the youth president of UDF in 1974.

Rio recalled his journey of 50 years in politics and recollected how grimy the situation used to be with the imposition of AFSPA, Emergency, and how Nagaland was filled with unlawful activities. Still, he said, there was a time he rallied in Mokokchung and the people of the district voted for the candidate he rallied for.

“When I look back, I have always been supported by the Nagas and I remain very grateful,” he said, expressing hope that Mokokchung voters will continue to vote for the PDA.

The PDA kick started its rally in Mokokchung, the hometown of Indian National Congress candidate S Supongmeren Jamir.

ALSO READ: Dr Chumben Murry addresses alleged Christian persecution in mass rally

Rio expressed his trust in the Mokokchung voters saying, “irrespective of leadership, I have trust in Mokokchung district. I have faith that just like previous times, we will earn your vote.”

This sentiment carries weight for Rio, who shared the historical journey of NDPP with Mokokchung. According to NDPP minister Metsübo Jamir, the NDPP party was formed in 2017 and was launched in Mokokchung. The NDPP participated in the election for the first time in 2018, and two NDPP candidates were elected from Mokokchung district which increased to six in 2023. Meanwhile, the PDA consensus candidate, Dr Chumben Murry, was one of the founders of the NDPP. The NDPP is believed to be the brainchild of CM Rio’s.

The 73-year-old politician, while pitching for Dr Murry didn’t mince words in criticizing opponents of the PDA consensus candidate, remarking, “Some of the candidates have just filed the nomination for the sake of it while some have filed nomination not because they want to but only to save the party’s name.”

PDA NDPP Mokokchung
PDA leaders during the mass rally in Mokokchung on 5 April 2024

Rio also emphasized the importance of the PDA’s alliance with the BJP, citing the mutual respect shared between him and Prime Minister Modi. This alliance, he asserted, has enabled effective communication with the Centre and facilitated exemptions for Nagaland from contentious laws such as CAA, Panchayati Raj, and others.

It may be noted that the NDPP has been bearing the brunt of its alliance with the BJP, as allegations of religious discrimination against minorities in the country, particularly the Christian minority by the BJP government, have increased. This has prompted the Congress in Nagaland to campaign for secularism.

Addressing the rationale behind the NDPP’s alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he said, “We all know Modi-led NDA is going to win. Thus we wish to support Modi,” adding, since 2003 he had been in alliance with the BJP while he was with NPF.

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Rio also asserted that BJP will get more than 300 seats in this election, adding that PM Modi was a visionary and dynamic leader. “This is why we are taking the mandate to be an NDA member,” he said.

He urged for Naga unity, stating that it was crucial for the Naga political issue. According to him, they will present the PDA candidate with the overwhelming majority win to PM Modi, and the Naga Political issue can be discussed.

ALSO READ: How elected representatives of Mokokchung campaigned for Dr Murry

Mokokchung Times

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