The Naga People’s Front has decided to support the Neiphiu Rio-led People’s Democratic Alliance government in Nagaland, India Today reported on Wednesday. This means that the state may soon have no Opposition party.
While the NPF is currently in the Opposition camp, it is the single largest party in the 60-member state Assembly with 25 MLAs. The ruling coalition comprises the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party and an Independent legislator.
The NPF will formally join the ruling alliance within a few days, NDTV reported, citing sources.
On Monday, the NPF passed an unanimous resolution calling for unity among all members of the state Assembly in a bid to expedite the Naga peace process. “A final shape [regarding the Opposition-less government] will emerge within a week’s time,” NPF General Secretary Achumbemo Kikon said, according to India Today.
The NDPP welcomed the resolution, and decided in a meeting to consult the BJP before arriving at a decision.
On Monday, Nagaland Chief Minister Rio appealed to political parties in the state to put up a united front to solve the decades-old Naga conflict.
For over six decades, Naga nationalists have fought the Indian state for a sovereign ethnic homeland that would include Nagaland as well as the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar across the border. Over the decades, the Naga armed movement split into several factions.
A similar situation had emerged in the Nagaland Assembly in 2015, when eight Congress MLAs joined the ruling Democratic Alliance government led by TR Zeliang. The MLAs, however, later joined the NPF. In November 2015, Speaker Chotisuh Sazo issued a notification recognising the legislators’ switch from the Congress to the NPF.
The state Congress unit had, however, objected to the Speaker’s decision, calling it as “daylight robbery”, The Indian Express reported.
In the 2018 Nagaland elections, the NPF won 39.1% of the popular vote. The NDPP’s vote share stood at 25.5%, while 14.4% of the electorate voted for the BJP.
Before the elections, the BJP had broken its 15-year-old alliance with the NPF to tie up with the NDPP.