The first General Body Meeting of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) after winning the assembly elections in February was held on 16 September at the State Banquet Hall, CMRC, Kohima where it laid out its ambitious agenda of solving the Indo-Naga political issue.
The meeting was a show of strength, unity, and an opportunity for the NDPP and CM Rio to prove himself as an “undisputed leader,” which was rightly remarked upon by NPF MLA Azo Nienu, who was present there as an invitee. Nienu commended Rio’s leadership and generosity, stating that it was through CM Rio that a “hardly six-year-old party” has taken over the government for two times in a row.
The President of NDPP, Chingwang Konyak, urged the attendees that “strong conviction” is needed to be a member of the NDPP and urged the members to pay for the membership. He even urged the contractors and the elected MLAs to contribute to the party, stating that this is the only way for the party to remain strong, whether it is in the ruling government or not. “Voluntarily, you have accepted the membership, so you must contribute to strengthening the party,” Konyak said.
Despite being from a different party, Nienu also called out the “unethical practice” by the Nagas who practice the habit of “when facility ends, loyalty ends.” However, he reiterated the NPF’s support for the Rio-led government.
Beyond party loyalty, the meeting placed a significant emphasis on addressing the long-standing Indo-Naga political issue. Chingwang Konyak read out the NDPP Manifesto, stating, “The Indo-Naga issue must be resolved through a negotiated settlement – a solution that is honorable, acceptable, and sustainable.” He further affirmed that “NDPP will not be a mute spectator but will be proactive and play the role of the facilitator.”
He recalled how they have turned themselves into an oppositionless government in order to bring about the solution; however, he observed that even an “oppositionless government” is not going to bring about the ‘Indo-Naga solution’.
Further, taking a dig at the division within the Naga Political groups, he reminded how, in a democracy, it is the 60 MLAs who are “people elected representatives” and that the various factions are not “people elected” representatives. Talking about the various factional splits within the Naga political groups, he asked whether the people of Nagaland should allow this to continue.
Similar motivation to settle the issue was reflected in CM Rio’s speech as he stated, “We came together not only because of the leadership but also for the issue. We will continue to work towards finding an early solution.” Rio reiterated that the NDPP’s top priority is the Naga issue and that they will find an amicable solution soon. The NDPP adopted one of its resolutions to appeal to the center to expedite the process of bringing about a final settlement.
CM Rio also attributed the increase in the vote percentage over the last two general elections to the party workers and members and commended their hard work for being able to communicate with the masses and for bringing the party to victory.
Regarding the ethnic clashes in Manipur, the NDPP appealed to the people and government of that state and the Centre to bring an end to the ongoing imbroglio and put a stop to the violence.