‘Courtesy call,’ NEDA Convenor Sarma says after Kohima visit

• Holds closed door meeting with CM
• Government tight lipped about agenda

Morung Express News
Dimapur | November 8

After the much hyped joint press conference in Kohima on November 5 ended in the PDA government and opposition NPF trading ‘allegations’, Assam Health and Finance Minister and North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) Convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma flew to the State capital on Sunday.

In what was termed as a ‘crucial’ visit by the BJP Nagaland in its Twitter update, Sarma reportedly met Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and leader of opposition TR Zeliang.

Without any communication from the State government and the NPF both prior and after Sarma’s visit, the agenda of the meeting remained unclear.

However, according to highly placed sources, one of the reasons for Sarma’s visit was to ‘resolve’ the difference of opinion that occurred during the November 5 press conference.

CM Rio had said that the press conference was necessitated as requested by Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a recent meeting on the protracted Naga political issue which was also attended by TR Zeliang and Himanta Biswas Sarma.

Rio claimed that Zeliang had endorsed the seven point resolutions passed during the October 15 consultative meeting called by the PDA government. Accordingly, Shah had requested them to “have a joint press conference and endorse the resolution.”

Zeliang meanwhile, made no mention of the resolutions during the press conference.

Instead, he denied the claims and reiterated the NPF’s proposal of doing away with the ‘conventional JLF’ on Naga Political issue.

The Rio-led PDA government had rejected the proposal and decided to continue with the JLF as per its August 20 resolution.

After the meeting on Sunday, Sarma was seen interacting with the media where he stated that his visit was “just a courtesy call” to the Chief Minister which he also utilized to meet his party colleagues.

According to a PTI report, Sarma told North East Live news channel that there are a set of government officials who are “engaged actively with the NSCN (IM)’s collective leadership.”

“I am convinced there will be some good news at some point of time. But these are very complex issues you cannot get a solution just out of one, two or three meetings... This is a complex issue and you need to resolve it bit by bit,” it said, quoting Sarma.

"The officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the NSCN (IM) are making progress, but what is happening or what has happened or what will happen will be difficult for us to comment at this stage.

"Solution has to be one, but let the discussions be concluded with NSCN(IM) first and then we will take the common draft to everybody we should go step by step," the NEDA convenor said.