Nagaland: Neiphiu Rio set to make entry in national politics?

The upcoming Lok Sabha polls will be a battle for entry into national politics by the bigwigs of the state.

By Neha Attre | Updated: May 13, 2014, 20:18 PM IST

Neha Attre

The upcoming Lok Sabha polls will be a battle for entry into national politics by the bigwigs of the state. With both state Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and KV Pusa eyeing the lone Lok Sabha seat from the state, it will be an interesting battle in the state.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio of the Naga People`s Front is touted as a strong contender for winning the seat. Rio is very popular in the state - he has been voted in as as the chief minister for three consecutive terms.

Rio has been nominated as the LS candidate by the BJP-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN). The alliance hopes that he can make positive progress in the complex Naga turmoil in the state.

The Nagaland Chief Minister has ambitions to be the first Union Cabinet minister from Nagaland if he wins the Lok Sabha polls and Bharatiya Janata Party comes to power at the Centre.

According to majority of exit polls, NPF is set to retain the lone state from the LS constituency.

Rio`s rival from Congress KV Pusa is also making an entry into the national politics and is contesting for the Lok Sabha constituency. He has targeted the existing state government on corruption issue.

A senior Congress leader, Pusa has been elected in the Nagaland Assembly four times.

The Naga political problem continues to be a key issue in the 2014 General Elections. Insurgency has been a dominant issue in the state from the past few decades with various factions including Naga National Council, Nationalist Social Council of Nagaland and National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang demanding complete independence.

While a ceasefire agreement with the Indian government took place decades ago, a permanent solution to the conflict is yet to be reached upon.

The issue started decades ago after NSCN(I-M) demanded an independent Nagaland and later asked for parts of neighbouring states to be integrated into the new state. However, the move was opposed by Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

Since then, a ceasefire agreement was signed in 1972 and peace talks between the government and the NSCN(I-M) have been ongoing to resolve the conflict.

Nagaland is also one of the important northeastern state of the country as it is the hub of economic growth along with other other states in the region.
In the past decade, Nagaland Peoples front (NPF) has emerged as the dominant political in the state. Other prominent national and regional political parties in the state include Indian National Congress (INC), Janta Dal, Nagaland Democratic Party and Naga National Democratic Party.
The party has four legislators in the 60-member Nagaland Assembly.