Updated: March 3, 2018 8:37:51 pm
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led NDPP is set to form the government in Nagaland as it is backed by the JD(U) and an independent, taking the overall tally to 31. Earlier, BJP had received invitation from NPF leader and Chief Minister T R Zeliang to join the new government, as Nagaland headed for a hung Assembly with no party or pre-poll alliance having a majority. NPF has been in power in Nagaland since 2003. Initial trends showed BJP backed NDPP leading from the front but NPF started gaining numbers towards the end of the day.
Meanwhile, The NPF looks all set to emerge as the single largest party having won 24 seats and leading in three.
The polling was held in 59 seats as former chief minister and National Democratic Progressive Party president Neiphiu Rio was elected unopposed from Northern Angami-II A/C after rival Naga People’s Front (NPF) candidate withdrew from the contest.
NPF fielded candidates in 59 seats with the incumbent Chief Minister TR Zeliang leading the charge. The party enjoys the support of the National People’s Party (NPP) and the Janata Dal (United). Chief Minister Zeliang had earlier met Governor P B Acharya and submitted a letter of support from the two parties for forming the next government. The letter is crucial in case of a fractured mandate as according to an NPF leader “it was important to communicate to the Governor that NPF also has an alliance” when he decides who to invite first to form the government.
But despite an apparent dissonance between Zeliang and NPF president Liezietsu, who has seemed averse to tying up with BJP, the party also continues to be open to an alliance with the BJP.
The NPF contested in alliance with NPP, which fielded as many as 25 candidates in its first ballot in the state. The JD(U), which chose to stay away from the alliance initially, fielded 13 candidates. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has for the first time fielded three candidates this year.
Whereas, Congress “drew a blank” just a day after the polling was held in Nagaland. The state party president Kewe Khape Therie hit out at CP Joshi for the “lost opportunity” to optimise the ground situation where the “Christian community were all out against the BJP and in favour of Congress ideologies and principles”. Therie alleged that Joshi, who has been the AICC general secretary-in-charge of the Northeast for two-and-a-half years, visited Nagaland only once, and also stopped Congress president Rahul Gandhi from visiting the state.
Nagaland went to polls on February 27 witnessing a voter turnout of nearly 75 per cent, reflecting a plunge from the previous 90 per cent in the 2013 assembly elections. The exit polls had projected the BJP-NDPP alliance having an edge over the ruling NPF.
The state witnessed violence on the day of polling as one person was killed while two others were injured in Mon district of Nagaland when two rival groups fired shots at each other. Voting was affected in other places.
At Ladigarh in Longleng district, which is in the Disputed Area Belt with Assam, the CEO’s report said Assam Police did not let a polling station be set up, as the area is claimed by both states. At Meluri, Phek district, a mob damaged EVMs while polling was on.
The assembly election was being viewed as a battle between Chief Minister T R Zeliang of NPF, and his predecessor Neiphiu Rio, then of the NPF but now heading his own party — NDPP — in alliance with the BJP.
The NPF concentrated on a regional identity in this election, presenting itself as champions of Nagas. It blamed Rio for creating a situation of instability in the state by forging alliances with the Centre. Meanwhile, the NDPP-BJP alliance tried to take on the role of opposition, calling Zeliang ‘a weak leader’, spearheading the campaign with the slogan “Change is Coming”.
The 2018 Nagaland Assembly elections also gave rise to a debate on the influence of BJP in a Christian-majority state, with the Nagaland Baptist Church Council taking a stance against the party.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.