The Bharatiya Janata Party has kept its options for an alliance open in Nagaland, the party’s general secretary, Ram Madhav, told The Hindu. The Election Commission of India on Thursday announced the poll schedule for Assembly polls in Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura.

The polling in Tripura will be held on February 18. Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to vote on February 27. The counting of votes in the three states will be on March 3.

In an interview with the newspaper, the BJP leader, who oversees the party’s affairs in the North East said options had opened up for the BJP. Madhav’s statements follow former Nagaland Chief Minister and Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio of the ruling Naga People’s Party decision to resign and join the Naga Democratic Progressive Party.

“We are serious about bringing a stable and development-focused government in Nagaland,” Madhav told the newspaper. “There are ministers [in Nagaland] who have taken oath four times in the last five years. We are looking for an option which would help us in taking forward and amicably concluding the Naga talks, which have progressed to a great extent.”

Madhav said there has been instability in the current government in Nagaland because of the infighting with the Naga People’s Party. “A stable government which is in tune with the Centre will be helpful to the state at this time,” he added.

Earlier this week, the ruling party had said it will severe ties with the BJP because the saffron party was “fomenting instability” in the state for its own “selfish ends in the near future”, the Hindustan Times reported.

Congress’ Mukul Sangma is the current chief minister of Meghalaya, while TR Zeliang is the incumbent chief minister of Nagaland. The Communist Party of India (Marxist) is in power in Tripura under Manik Sarkar.

Madhav said the contest in BJP will be the “battle royale in this set of elections”. “The Left government is hugely unpopular with the people [in Tripura] and is desperate,” Madhav told The Hindu.