The Congress will support the Naga People’s Front against the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance in the upcoming bye-election to Nagaland’s lone Lok Sabha seat, PTI reported on Tuesday. The election will be held on May 28, and the result will be declared on May 31.

The bye-election was necessitated after Neiphiu Rio quit the Lok Sabha to take over as Nagaland’s chief minister on February 16.

The bye-election was necessitated after the Nagaland seat fell vacant when Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio resigned as Lok Sabha member on February 16.

The Congress will support NPF candidate C Apok Jamir. Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee President K Therie said his party has full faith in Jamir. The ruling alliance, which consists of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party, has fielded former minister Tokheho Yepthomi.

“As our primary concern is to save Nagaland from communal forces, we agreed in principle to support Apok Jamir in this 2018 Lok Sabha by-election,” said Therie. “We hope he will live up to the expectations of the party and uphold the principles of secularism and liberal democracy.”

He called the BJP-NDPP alliance an “unholy marriage”. Therie said fanaticism in India has reached its zenith, and “cows are placed above humans” now. “All secular-minded political parties must join hands to defeat those who try to impose Hinduism,” he added. “The BJP is confusing the mindsets of the youngsters with their Hindutva policies.”

Therie said the Congress “upholds secularism and democratic norms and is strictly against the policies of the BJP’s Uniform Civil Code”. “Nagas should not take the BJP and its alliance partners lightly,” NPCC president added. “It could lead to serious ramifications on the Naga society in particular and the whole nation in general in the coming years.”

BJP spokesperson K James Vizo said the Congress’ accusations were a mark of their desperation. “It is a known fact that the Congress has been facing defeat everywhere,” said Vizo. “The people are rejecting Congress because it failed to deliver on all fronts. The party does not have any agenda of their own and that is why it is attacking the BJP.”