Uncertainty over Nagaland polls over as BJP announces list of candidates

A felicitation programme held by BJP Nagaland unit to welcome the new members

The BJP on Saturday announced a pre-poll alliance with the newly floated National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) of former Nagaland chief minister and current Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio, dumping its long-time ally the Naga Peoples' Front (NPF).

The BJP has since come up with a tentative list of candidates for the election.

Nagaland BJP president Visasolie Lhoungu, in the letter to BJP national President Amit Shah, said that the party state unit has made a decision to contest the polls polls without any pre-poll alliance and suggested that it can later opt for post poll alliance depending on necessity.

A joint declaration was issued by the NSCN (IM) and the working committee of six other Naga national political groups, stating that they support the demand of the Naga tribal bodies and civil society to find a solution to the peace negotiation before the election, something the Centre has been non-committal on. Mr Lhoungu was among the signatories to the letter.

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The letter which was signed by general secretary of Nagaland BJP Eduzu Theluo stated that "The 20:40 seat-sharing pact between BJP and the NDPP for the 60-member state assembly was not justified since it was the NDPP which approached the saffron party for the formation of an alliance".

It's been five days since the notification for this month's assembly election in Nagaland was announced. "We will stand by this decision to the end", the NSCN-IM asserted and warned that "serious consequences" as per the law of the outfit will be imposed on any of its cadres found defying the decision of the Naga people. "The CCNTHCO is not the sole authority with powers to force anyone to refrain, be it a political party or an aspiring election candidate, from participation in the electoral process". "The ground situation here is different and the BJP party functionaries should understand that they have to live among the Naga people", he added. But no candidate, either from political parties or independents, filed nominations papers till Monday.

On filing of nominations, Odyuo said: "We will wait for the major political parties, including the BJP and NPF, to file nomination first".

Initially, the ruling NPF along with the BJP had chose to boycott the upcoming polls by signing the 11-party boycott declaration. "Taking these into consideration, the Nagaland BJP can not accept any pre-poll alliance with any party", the letter said adding that the decision was taken in consultation with the district units and morchas of the party.

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