Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee, which failed to field candidates in more than half of the 60 constituencies for the upcoming state Assembly election, has lambasted the party leadership for the party's ongoing political crisis in the state.
K Therie, president of NPCC, has accused the All India Congress Committee secretary general CP Joshi of systematically destroying the Congress in Nagaland by not providing funds for electioneering.
While speaking to Firspost at his residence in Nagaland, he said: "The responsibility of fielding candidates lies with the AICC secretary general... he has systematically destroyed the party. Other parties have assured adequate funding to their candidates which the Congress has not done."
He further said that the Bharatiya Janata Party has assured Rs five-ten crore as electioneering fund in each constituency. "In such a situation, simply saying that the party cannot fund at all cannot be the answer," he said.
Absolving Congress president Rahul Gandhi of his failure in managing party affairs, he said that it is the secretary general's responsibility to inform the president about the needs of the party, which he claims was not done.
"Rahul is not responsible at all for this situation. He has taken over just in the month of December. It is the general secretaries who are not putting up issues before him. In Nagaland's case, it is the responsibility of Joshi," he added.
Joshi is the party's in-charge for the state of Nagaland. He also heads the coordination committee for the upcoming election in the state. Therie also held Joshi responsible for systematically destroying Congress party's prospects not only in Nagaland but also in Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and even Bihar.
Congress fielded 23 candidates for the Nagaland Assembly polls out of which five have withdrawn their nominations, reportedly due to a cash crunch. At present, only 18 candidates from Congress party are in the fray for the upcoming polls.
Therie also expressed his disbelief at the fact that the AICC did not have funds to meet electioneering expenditure. "They are in Opposition for hardly three years after ruling the country for 10 years. We find it difficult to believe that AICC lacks funds to provide the basic logistical support to its candidates and party officials for elections," he added.
Therie claimed that people still love the Congress and want to vote for it. But adds that it is only the lack of logistical support that has prevented them from fielding more candidates. "Many candidates felt let down by the party and joined other outfits," he added.
Significantly, he also slammed Odisha governor and former Nagaland chief minister SC Jamir for allegedly campaigning for his son Apok Jamir, who is a candidate for the ruling Naga People's Front.
"Jamir was appointed as the governor by the UPA. But now, he is working as the NDA governor. Considering his constitutional designation, he should have refrained from campaigning for his son," Therie added.
The BJP has filed a complaint against the Odisha governor with the Election Commission for allegedly campaigning in the election process, which the party says is a misuse of his official power.
Jamir, meanwhile, has refuted the claim saying that he only went to his home to solve a dispute between two families.
Interestingly, Joshi claimed that the ongoing peace talks with NSCN(IM) and other insurgent groups were initiated by the Congress and not by the BJP, as the saffron party has been claiming.
"It was former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi who had offered to talk with the rebel groups without any precondition. Similarly, in the year 1996, PV Narasimha Rao had made the same offer. Only after these offers were made did the rebel groups turn up for peace talks in 1997,” he said.
Updated Date: Feb 23, 2018 16:39 PM