Neiphiu Rio eyes Delhi berth to push NSCN deal | india | Hindustan Times
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Neiphiu Rio eyes Delhi berth to push NSCN deal

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, an ally of the BJP, is eyeing a parliament berth to fast-track the prolonged peace deal with National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).

india Updated: Apr 08, 2014 00:07 IST
Rahul Karmakar

Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, an ally of the BJP, is eyeing a parliament berth to fast-track the prolonged peace deal with National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah). His shift to Delhi could also facilitate leaders of the Naga outfit to head a ‘legitimate’ government in Nagaland.

Rio’s ‘Delhi chalo’ credo is inspired by Subhash Chandra Bose, whose march to the Indian capital during World War 2 was halted in Nagaland capital Kohima by the allied forces in 1944. But, his party Naga People’s Front (NPF) insists, Rio wants to move to Delhi to end bloodshed in Nagaland forever. “The Naga peace process has been dragging for too long,” a senior party leader said.

Several rounds of talks with NSCN (I-M) since 1997 have been inconclusive. Many in Nagaland believe that the BJP-led NDA is more serious about solving the issue than Congress. “The NDA tried to handle the problem sincerely,” said Chuba Ozukum, president of Naga Hoho, an apex tribal body.

Rio was a Congress leader who fell out with former chief minister SC Jamir and joined the regional NPF. With BJP’s backing, NPF has been ruling government for three successive terms in alliance with BJP, NCP and JD (U) since 2003.

Because of standing by BJP, Rio is assured of a cabinet berth if NDA forms the government. “If elected, I can push for solution of the political problem,” Rio said during an election.

If NPF gets its calculation right, NSCN (I-M) leaders could fill the void Rio would leave behind. Isak Chishi Swu, the outfit’s chairman, is tipped to contest the assembly seat that Rio vacates. Swu and compatriot Thuingaleng Muivah have been running a parallel government in Nagaland.