Days ahead of the Nagaland Assembly Elections, Chief Minister TR Zeliang has said that his party Naga People’s Front (NPF) has not shut the doors to a possible coalition with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) between the two parties after the February 27 elections. Zeliang was quoted as saying by The Indian Express that as a political party, his party has an alliance with the BJP and it welcomes both the parties participating in the governance system. He pointed out that there is no difference between the BJP and the Naga People’s Front.
Zeliang, however, said that issues of culture and religion should not be stressed upon by the BJP. He said that if the BJP tries to dominate in the issues of culture and religion, then the agenda, as well as the concept, is incorrect. However, he did mention that there is no problem in the alliance of both the parties. “The culture must not be disturbed and the concept to dominate religion should not be an issue. If BJP tries to impose the religion and culture factor, then things will be wrong. I don’t think BJP should try to do that and the alliance will continue,” Zeliang added.
Zeliang’s comments come in the backdrop of a bonding between the BJP and the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP). The BJP has tied up with the party under the leadership of former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. Interestingly, Neiphiu Rio had left NPF to form NDPP. The Naga Chief Minister said that there won’t be a hung Assembly and even if it happens, there is no possibility of the NPF and NDPP coming together for an alliance. Hitting out over Rio, Zeliang said that he is happy that the leader has gone away from the party, adding that his presence would only have led to more infighting.
Meanwhile, focussing on the polls ahead, Zeliang said that the NPF has set its priorities. He said that he wants a solution to the Naga issue. “We want our youth to prosper and open new windows for them. It the Naga issue is solved, then peace will prevail in the state,” he added. He said that the party is focussed on renewing the entire education system. “Things have gone wrong in the last 55 years. We want to revamp education system, healthcare system, water supply system and road network,” said the CM.