The former Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio was one of the most high-profile names to switch sides ahead of the Assembly elections as he quit the ruling Naga People’s Front and joined the newly floated Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party. Rio won the election from Northern Angami-2 unopposed after the opposition candidate – Chupfuo Angami of the Naga People’s Front – dropped out of the race.

Apart from Rio, former Home Minister Y Patton and former Chief Minister KL Chishi were the other big names to change their political allegiance and join the Bharatiya Janata Party. Patton, who quit the Naga People’s Front, seemed comfortably placed against the Naga People Front’s Yankithung Yanthan, leading by 1,632 votes from Tyui. Chishi, who was one of the richest candidates in the fray and made his career with the Congress, lost to Naga People’s Party candidate Picto from Atoizu, News 18 reported.

The former Independent legislator, Jacob Zhimomi, who also joined the Bharatiya Janata Party was in a close contest against Independent candidate Z Kashteo Yeptho in Ghaspani-1, and was trailing him by only 311 votes at 2.30 pm.

The NDPP is in a close race with the NPF, as counting for the Assembly elections continues.