The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday, ahead of Nagaland’s Assembly elections, has broken its 15-year-old ties with ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) and formed an alliance with the newly formed Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) headed by former chief minister Neiphiu Rio. The BJP on Saturday announced the pre-poll alliance with NDPP for the 60-seat Assembly elections slated to be held on February 27. The highly-anticipated announcement came after talks between NPF and BJP regarding seat-share in Nagaland fell through. The BJP and NDPP announced a 20-40 seat sharing plan. BJP’s in-charge for the Nagaland elections and Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju during the announcement said that the newly formed alliance between BJP-NDPP has boosted chances of winning the elections and forming the next government, according to The Indian Express. NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio, a Lok Sabha member, backed Rijiju’s confidence of sweeping the polls and that too with an absolute majority. Neiphiu pledged alliance with NDPP after quitting NPF only three weeks ago.
NPF and BJP have been conducting discussions over seat-sharing in Nagaland with central party leaders for quite a while but failed to find common ground after several rounds of talks. After talks did not yield any result, BJP chose to side with the second best party in Nagaland, NDPP, with former chief minister Rio as their best option while the NPF accused the BJP of back-stabbing and betraying trust of their long-standing alliance. The NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu expressing displeasure in BJP’s hasty decision to hold hands with NDPP said that the Naga party was still in talks with the central party over seat sharing while the BJP announced their alliance with NDPP in a sudden move, breaching the trust of their alliance.
The president further stated that now that the central party has already decided to contest elections with NDPP, NPF will have the opportunity to fight in all 60 seats and their chances have not been affected, as he emphasised that NPF has much deeper grassroots in the state compared to NDPP which was formed only a few weeks back. Kiren Rijiju, however, cleared that they don’t have grudges against NPF and their decision to part ways was not fueled by enmity, but for a better option as seat-sharing talks with NPF did not work out.