Kohima: The Naga People’s Front (NPF), oldest regional Party in Nagaland, on Saturday invited ‘old friends’ of the party to return ‘home’ as the NPF celebrated its 61st foundation day in Kohima on Saturday.
Ahead of extending a welcome back invite, the party’s outgoing president Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu, while addressing party workers at the Capital Cultural Hall recounted how the party’s position weakened just months ahead of the February 2023 polls after winning 26 seats in 2018.
“Friends, we do not want to revisit the past but sometimes we find it necessary to learn lessons from the past. The story of NPF in Nagaland in the last tenure of Assembly was not very pleasant,” he said.
In the 2018 state elections, the party secured 26 seats in the 60-member house, short of five to reach the magic figure. He said that the failed to manoeuvre the situation which gave opportunity to others to come together and form the Government.
“During those 5 years tenure, there were four by-elections in the state. But our Parliamentary group carefully avoided all these elections save one, that is 14-Southern Angami I,” he said.
Out of many elected members, he said that the party saw many during the election campaign in that bye-election, but many were not seen.
“On the contrary, many of them played character assassination game against their few colleagues who worked hard for the party. For a long time, we were not aware of the presence of wolves in sheep’ skin in our midst till the cat was out of the bag finally. Out of 25 MLAs, 21 of them defected at the last moment leaving no chance to the party to reorganise itself in 9 months time,” he narrated.
The ‘defection’ of the 21 NPF legislators, he said, betrayed the party as they made calculated moves. “But there was no roses all the way for the defectors also. Out of 21 MLAs, 14 of them were axed by their masters by denying them of the ticket, the aspiration for which they have risked their career. Out of 7 who took the NDPP ticket, four faced defeat again in the election and only three of them survived. Two out of the rest 14 chose other political parties and won due to their sheer luck,” he said.
While he hoped that no one will feel bad for what had happened to the party in the past, Liezietsu said that this is history and people should learn from their past mistakes.
He made a comparison of the party with a football association where the main objective is to set up a strong football team and participate in football tournaments. “Our ‘Cock Football Association’ participated in the 2023 Assembly tournament.
Contrary to the expectation of the Association, our team failed to score any goal. At the end, the team captain scored suicide goal and left the playfield with his team before time was up; and so they are called defectors in the political terminology. Many of those players started blaming their association when they themselves failed to score goal. This was a peculiar drama that we have faced in the last election. We have defeated ourselves,” he said.
He then goes on to say that in the future, party workers should keep in mind that ‘enemy within is worse than enemy outside’.
“On our part we are not blaming anybody for it, but we only wish everyone to retrospect and realise the right or the wrong steps one had gone through so that they can take the right decision for their future. We want everybody to understand that NPF is the party of the people as its name indicates,” he said.
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In this regard, he added, “Therefore, if realisation is there in its true sense, I would like to invite all our old friends to come back home again if they want to regain their rightful place in the society and in the party”.
He said that there should not be any hesitation because one’s future is more important than facing temporary embarrassment.
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