Nagaland MLAs, MPs to pressure Centre for early solution on Naga issue

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The recent formation of the “Nagaland United Government” (NUG) has left the BJP worried so much that its central leadership called Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and the state’s BJP leadership to Delhi.

Rio’s Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) headed the People’s Democratic Alliance government which is now NUG. With 12 MLAs in the 60-member House, the BJP is a key component of the alliance.

The Naga People’s Front (NPF), which was the state’s only opposition party with elected members (it has 25 MLAs), was inducted into the government on Monday to make it an “all-party” government.

The BJP is, however, jittery. It fears that by bringing the NPF on board, Rio is trying to finish off the saffron party in the Christian-majority state which will go to the polls in early 2023.

According to BJP insiders in the state, the CM was nervous about a possible threat to his chair from a section of saffron party leaders and this made him cozy up to the NPF that he had built brick by brick until deserting it ahead of the 2018 elections.

ALSO READ | Naga People’s Front joins govt, Nagaland House becomes ‘Opposition-less’

“Rio has the blessings of the BJP’s central leaders and he is, in any case, going to complete the current term. However, since an attempt is being made to topple his government, he became nervous,” a BJP insider said.

“The NPF was in the ICU. By inducting it into the government, the CM has revived it,” the BJP insider said, adding, “But this may have dangerous ramifications. The friendship between NDPP and NPF might cost the BJP dear in the 2023 elections.”

Sources said the BJP state unit had endorsed the all-party government without the approval of the party’s central leaders. The state leaders, however, said the decision was made due to local compulsions.

“We had to join the all-party government due to certain compulsions. If we had not joined it, people would have said we don’t want a solution to the Naga political problem,” a BJP leader, who is a member of the delegation that is in Delhi, told this newspaper.

He said they would share everything with the party’s central leadership and abide by its directions.

The all-party government was formed to facilitate the Naga political issue and achieve a solution that is honorable and acceptable.

However, as a matter of fact, the Nagaland government hardly has any role to play in the Naga issue which is being negotiated by the various insurgent groups. Opposing NUG, a section of BJP leaders said the united government or opposition-less government has nothing to do with the Naga political solution.