The Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee on Monday said it was “very unfortunate” that former Chief Minister KL Chishi had decided to quit the party and join the Bharatiya Janata party, the Nagaland Post reported.

Chishi joined the BJP along with 12 other leaders and former lawmakers, including former Independent legislator Jacob Zhimomi, at an event in Dimapur. BJP leader Ram Madhav attended the function.

“Preserving the diversity of every culture is the priority of the BJP” Northeast Today quoted Chishi as saying. “This election is for solution [to the Naga insurgency problem],”

The defections come ahead of the Assembly elections in Nagaland on February 27. The results will be declared on March 3.

“I made this conscious decision to join the BJP to strengthen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for the development of North Eastern states,” IANS quoted Zhimomi as saying on Sunday.

Nagaland BJP President Visasolie Lhoungu said former legislators had joined the party after seeing the performance of the BJP-led government at the Centre. “There are more legislators intend to be part of the BJP family in the days to come for the development and peace of Nagaland,” he added.

On January 18, Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio resigned from the ruling Naga People’s Party and joined the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party.