Ruling Naga People’s Party leader and Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio on Wednesday resigned from the party and joined the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party. He made the move a day before the Election Commission announced the schedule for the Nagaland Assembly elections.

Nagaland and Meghalaya will vote on February 27, while polling in Tripura will take place on February 18. The counting of votes in all three states will be on March 3.

NDPP President Chingwang Konyak said Rio will lead the party in the upcoming Assembly elections. Rio has served as the chief minister of Nagaland thrice.

Konyak along with the party’s Working President Alemtemshi Jamir and others met Rio at his Dimapur residence. “Rio formally accepted the invitation while also thanking the NDPP leadership for the appeal and invitation to join the party,” said Konyak, according to PTI.

The NDPP was formed in 2017. Konyak said Rio “acknowledged the fact that the NDPP was formed to bring a positive change in Naga society”. He added that the party wants to ensure transparency in governance, implement progressive development and fight corruption.

However, two week ago Rio had said at a press meet that he “totally disassociates” from the NDPP. “[It] is a fledgling political party, I can only wish them well,” he had said, according to Morung Express.