Emphatic win for NDPP-BJP alliance, Neiphiu Riu to return as Nagaland CM for record fifth term

Nagaland election results: The BJP has termed the victory as a new dawn of prosperity in the state.

Emphatic win for NDPP-BJP alliance, Neiphiu Riu to return as Nagaland CM for record fifth term
Prime Minister Narendra Modi after being presented with Naga traditional attires by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio (L) during a public rally ahead of the Nagaland Assembly election in Chumukedima, Nagaland, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. (PTI Photo)

The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party-Bharatiya Janata Party combine is all set to return to power for a second consecutive term. Results to the Nagaland Assembly elections declared on Thursday showed the alliance comfortably poised to form a government with 37 seats, bettering its tally of 2018 when the alliance bagged 30 seats.

The NDPP-BJP victory has paved way for the return of Neiphiu Riu, political stalwart and the longest-serving CM of Nagaland to return to the post for a record fifth term. The win for the ruling alliance has also cemented the NDA’s position and development narrative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Northeast, a factor which will play a crucial role in the Lok Sabha elections next year.

Modi took to Twitter on Thursday evening and thanked the people of Nagaland for reposing their faith in the “double-engine” government and promised to keep working for the progress of the state. “I thank the people of Nagaland for blessing the alliance with yet another mandate to serve the state. The double-engine government will keep working for the state’s progress. I laud our party workers for their hard work which ensured this result,” the PM said.

The BJP, meanwhile, has dubbed the victory as a testament to the people’s unwavering faith in PM Modi’s commitment to peace, stability and prosperity in the state. “I thank the people of Nagaland from the bottom of my heart for choosing peace and progress by re-electing the PM Modi-led NDA back in power. The duo of PM Narendra Modi and CM Neiphiu Rio will continue to advance peace and development in the state and fulfill people’s aspirations,” said Home minister Amit Shah.

The Naga Peace Accord signed in 2015 has been a regular feature in speeches and campaigns by BJP leaders in the state. “Earlier, the people of Nagaland were affected by racial discrimination, Shootings, insurgency, and blasts were happening. It was Prime Minister Narendra Modi who signed the Peace Accord and carried the Naga Peace Talk forward, which has brought development, employment and peace to Nagaland,” Shah said in the run-up to the polls.

While the peace accord is yet to be operationalised, that does not appear to have deterred the people from voting the ruling alliance back to power in the state. One particular factor that appears to have worked in favour of the BJP is its decision to engage with tribal groups who had issued a boycott call ahead of polls over their demands for ‘Frontier Nagaland’.

It has been reported that the boycott call was lifted after Home minister Amit Shah reached out to them with an assurance that a ‘Territory’ with a unique name will be established once the elections are over.”

While the BJP appears to have won the battle for now, it remains to be seen whether the assurances translate into action. All eyes will also be on how the Centre moves to find a political solution to the complex Naga problem. Failure on these fronts could also come back to haunt them less than a year from now.

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First published on: 02-03-2023 at 20:42 IST
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