Nagaland’s ruling National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) has proclaimed that it is still allied with the BJP, amid speculations about a possible rift between the two parties. Whispers of a breakup between the Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio-led NDPP and the saffron party came about after Rio’s reported tussle with his deputy Chief Minister, who is also a senior member of the BJP.
“We remain unwavering in our pre-poll commitments and alliance with the BJP and assure the people that the recent development does not in any way undermine our continued alliance, but in fact, strengthens the alliance, providing more stability to our government,” the NDPP said in a statement.
The statement comes days after 21 Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLAs defected to NDPP. This led to speculations that the BJP-NDPP alliance in poll-bound Nagaland may not last as the ruling party’s strength—in a Legislative Assembly of 60—has now become 42.
Adding to the political gossip mill was the supposed quarrel between Rio and deputy CM Yanthungo Patton over the allocation of portfolios.
In the 2018 state Assembly elections, the NPF had emerged as the single largest party with 25 seats, but the NDPP and the BJP—with 21 and 12 seats each—formed the coalition government. In September 2021, however, NPF joined the government citing a “need for unity” for the resolution of the long-standing Naga conflict.
This made Nagaland an Opposition-less state.
Assembly elections in Nagaland are scheduled for 2023.
Meanwhile, the NPF has urged CM Rio that its remaining four MLAs be given cabinet berths.
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