Founder-member of Naga People’s Front (NPF) and three-time chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who spearheaded the rise of the party after he quit Congress in 2002, has been literally given the boot by the current NPF leadership. Rio joins another NPF founder-member and veteran party leader from Mokokchung district, Imkong L. Imchen in being issued with suspension orders by the NPF president Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu on the recommendation of the party’s Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC).
Neiphiu Rio, current Lok Sabha MP, was suspended from the NPF by an order issued by party president Dr. Shurhozelie Lieziestsu. The suspension order dated May 17, 2016 issued by the party president appear to have taken the decision to take retrospective action for alleged anti-party activities and attempts to dislodge the present chief minister T.R. Zeliang.
‘Rio’s anti-party activities are singularly aimed at dividing the party so that, at the cost of the party, he could reposition himself in power in the party and the government, as would be evident from his faction filing a petition before the Election Commission from claiming control of the party, which ultimately failed when the ECI, by its order dated 27.3.2015, directed NPF factions to arrive at reconciliation,’ the NPF stated.
According to the suspension order, NPF president Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu, stated that the NPF had issued two show cause notices dated 4th April, 2016 and 13th April, 2016 to Neiphiu Rio, seeking his explanation ‘why suitable action should not be initiated against him for his anti-party activities under the NPF constitution.’ It said that the party’s DAC chairman received Rio’s replies on 14th April, 2016 and 27th April, 2016. The NPF Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) during its meeting on May 4, 2016, ‘after proper application of mind to the matter’, recommended to the party president the suspension of Rio from the NPF.
The order further stated, that the party president after proper application of mind to the material before him, came to the conclusion ‘that Neiphiu Rio, ever since his demission of office of the chief minister, had been indulging in activities squarely contrary to the aims and objectives of the NPF.’
There are speculations doing the rounds as to why the NPF has decided to target Neiphiu Rio only now? There are also speculations doing the rounds that the reasons for Rio’s suspension was to discredit him in the event the Modi government considered him for some assignment.
The other that was being talked about is that the suspension would keep Rio under leash in case he decides to take on the present party leadership in preparation for the next assembly elections due in 2018.