Nagaland assembly forms seven-member committee to draft resolution on Naga problem

Express News Service
GUWAHATI: In an interesting political development in Nagaland, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (PNDP) invited opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) to join the state’s People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government, apparently to corner ally BJP.

The NPF, which is the only opposition party in the state with elected members, accepted the offer. The development will leave the Nagaland Assembly without any Opposition members in the Assembly.

The NPF sought to suggest that the idea of an all-party government was conceived to expedite the Naga peace process. However, a BJP insider told The New Indian Express that it was a game being played by the NDPP to clip the BJP’s wings. The BJP is a PDA constituent.

Citing a reason, he said the BJP had for long been attempting to form a government with its erstwhile ally NPF by ditching the NDPP. The NPF, in any case, is still a BJP ally in Manipur.

The development forced the BJP’s central leadership to decide on sending the party’s Nagaland in-charge Nalin Kohli to the state on Wednesday, the BJP insider said.

The 60-member Nagaland House currently has 59 members following the demise of one MLA. The PDA has the support of 34 MLAs (20 from NDPP, 12 from BJP and two Independents) while NPF has 25 MLAs.

However, seven MLAs from the NPF have been with the NDPP for a long time. In February this year, the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court dismissed two interlocutory applications filed by the NPF which had sought to keep the seven suspended MLAs off the Assembly.

It was learnt the NDPP had invited the NPF to be a part of the government which was followed by a meeting of the NPF legislators on Monday. They decided to accept the offer in the interest of the settlement of the protracted Naga political problem.

The BJP has not yet made its position known.

NPF general secretary Achumbemo Kikon said the party has been always supporting the government on the Naga issue.

“We have a consistent stance on the Naga issue. We want it to be expedited. Towards this endeavour, an idea was mooted for an all-party government to push the Naga peace process forward and bring it to its logical conclusion. The NPF will hopefully join the government in a week’s time,” Kikon said.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the NDPP held on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to continue to work towards bringing the final solution to the Naga issue. The meeting welcomed the NPF Legislature Party’s resolution calling for unity among the members of the Assembly and decided to consult the BJP before taking the matter forward.

The Centre is separately holding the peace talks with the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim or NSCN-IM and eight other groups which came together a few years ago under the banner of “Naga National Political Groups” or NNPGs.