New Delhi/ Kohima, Jul 27, 2022, IANS
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) on Tuesday finalised the seat sharing deal to contest for the 60-member Nagaland assembly elections, which is around seven months away.
BJP's in-charge for Nagaland, Nalin Kohli and NDPP's General Secretary Abu Metha in a joint statement, issued in Delhi, said that in the forthcoming assembly polls, expected to be held in February next year, the NDPP will contest in 40 seats and the BJP will fight in the remaining 20 seats.
The seat sharing deal was done after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Nagaland counterpart and NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament House office.
The statement said that the leadership of the two parties led by BJP President J.P. Nadda and Chief Minister Rio of the NDPP have mutually agreed to continue the alliance with seat sharing in the forthcoming elections to the Nagaland Assembly of 40:20 ratio, wherein the NDPP will contest in 40 seats and the BJP in 20 seats.
"There will be no friendly contest in any constituency. A Core Committee of NDPP and BJP members will formulate the election strategy to finalise the specific seats at an appropriate time to decide in which seat each party will contest," it said.
The NDPP is the dominant party of the ruling United Democratic Alliance (UDA) in Nagaland with the BJP, which has 12 MLAs, as one of the important constituents.
Former Chief Minister and ex-Naga People's Front (NPF) supremo T.R. Zeliang is the chairman of the UDA-led all party government.
Earlier this year, 21 of the 25 MLAs of the NPF led by Zeliang merged with the NDPP increasing the strength of the NDPP to 42 in the 60-member Assembly.
Both the BJP, the NPF and the NDPP are the constituents of the opposition less all-party UDA government, formed last year to take forward the Naga political issue between the Centre and Naga outfits and various other groups.
The next general election to the Nagaland assembly is considered crucial in view of the ongoing Naga peace talks between the Central government and the Naga groups, specially the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).
All the political parties and the state government are keen to resolve the much expected Naga issue before the assembly polls.
The NSCN-IM's repeated insistence on a separate Naga flag and Constitution have become a big hurdle in the way of resolving the Naga issue.