Rio to discuss Naga political issue with Shah in Delhi


Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on Monday said that he will leave for Delhi in the next few days to discuss with Union Home Minister Amit Shah the Naga political issue as well as matters pertaining to the opposition-less United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in the state.

The chief minister, while interacting with journalists on the sidelines of an official programme, said that during a telephonic conversation, Shah asked him to come to Delhi.

“We are in touch over the phone. He asked me when I can come to Delhi to discuss the Naga political issue, and matters pertaining to the alliance and development of the state. I am planning to go there for one-two days in the first week of December,” Rio said.

Earlier, during the general conference of the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) held on November 23, Rio said that Shah has asked him and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who has also been involved in the Naga peace talks with the NSCN (IM), to come to Delhi.

On reports that the Framework Agreement between the Centre and NSCN (IM) has become a roadblock to the ‘final solution’ of the Naga political issue, he said that the pact has been signed between the Government of India and the outfit and he is not privy to issues pertaining to it.

The Centre and the NSCN (IM) have been holding talks to resolve the decades-old Naga political issue since 1997, while the Framework Agreement was signed in 2015 and talks were said to have concluded in October 2019.

However, the ‘final solution’ is yet to be achieved due to the consistent demand of NSCN (IM) for a separate flag and constitution of Nagas.

Replying to a query on granting portfolios to the Naga People’s Front (NPF) after the formation of the UDA government, Rio said, “We are holding discussions.”

Except for appointing former chief minister T R Zeliang as NPF legislature party leader with cabinet status, Rio is yet to accommodate any of the NPF legislators in his ministry.

Maintaining that there was no precondition for the formation of the UDA government, he said, “Our main reason behind coming together is the Naga political issue, which is our topmost agenda.”

Asked about the demand of Rengma Nagas to upgrade Tseminyu sub-division of Kohima into a full-fledged district, Rio said that around 9-10 groups are demanding it, and the government has constituted a committee to study the feasibility and is waiting for its report.