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BJP snaps 15-year-old ties with NPF, to go with NDPP in Nagaland

BJP on Monday ruled out extending support to its 15-year-old ally the Naga People's Front (NPF) in Nagaland.

BJP snaps 15-year-old ties with NPF, to go with NDPP in Nagaland

Kohima: The BJP on Monday said it would form the government in Nagaland with its pre-poll alliance partner NDPP and ruled out extending support to its 15-year-old ally the Naga People's Front (NPF), which emerged as the single largest party in the Assembly polls.

After meeting senior NDPP leader and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio here, BJP leader and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told newsmen that his party was no longer in alliance with the NPF that had been in power in the state since 2008.

"Today, I can officially say that we have no truck with the NPF and there is no question of going back to the NPF in forming the government. We will go with the NDPP," Sarma said in reply to a question.

Asked if any official letter was given to outgoing chief minister T R Zeliang on the breaking of ties, Sarma said, "In politics, we don't go by too many letters. Politics goes on signals and we are sending enough signals to Zeliang that we cannot be friend with NPF."

The BJP had a pre-poll alliance with the NDPP and the people has given us the mandate, he said.

The NDPP was formed just before the February 27 election with then NPF leader Neiphiu Rio as its head.

"We (BJP and NDPP) had detailed discussion on the architecture and representation of the two parties in the government. The details will be disclosed by Rio in due course of time," the BJP leader said.

Rio later said the details of the agreement between the BJP and the NDPP cannot be revealed at this moment.

He said the coalition would be named the People's Democratic Alliance.

The BJP bagged 12 seats, while its ally NDPP won 17 seats in the 60-member Assembly. It is also supported by the lone JD(U) MLA and an Independent legislator.

Sarma advised incumbent Chief Minister T R Zeliang of the NPF to "resign gracefully respecting democratic norms, as the Constitution has many other provisions".

Zeliang has not resigned yet, with the NPF claiming that the party would form the government again with the support of the BJP.

Commenting on Sarma's statement, the NPF said it was a "unilateral decision" of the BJP.

Asked whether the BJP's decision to sever ties with the NPF would impact their relationship in Manipur, where four NPF legislators are part of the BJP government, party spokesperson Achumbemo Kikon said, "The NPF will have to revisit the decision."

Kikon said the incumbent Chief Minister Zeliang was in close touch with the BJP high command as the party wanted to continue the alliance "in the interest of the peace process."

Sarma, however, said it would not be proper for Zeliang to meet central BJP leaders at this stage as it would send a wrong signal to the people of Nagaland. He can surely meet them after the formation of the government."

Kikon said the people electing 27 NPF candidates is a clear indication that they support the leadership of Zeliang over Rio as the NDPP had won only 17 seats.

"Being a national party, if the BJP does not consider the possibility of providing a stable and strong government by continuing the alliance with the NPF, it is up to them," the NPF spokesperson said.

Yesterday, both Rio and Zeliang had met Governor P B Acharya and claimed to have the support of majority of MLAs.

Acharya had told reporters yesterday that Rio and Zeliang have claimed to have majority support, but "I have not invited anyone to form the government as of now. I have given them 48 hours time to submit the signatures of the elected members supporting them".

Meanwhile, in Dimapur, the BJP Legislature Party today unanimously elected former home minister Yanthungo Patton as its leader.