By Tushar Singh
The Congress Party has said that it was open to partnering with the Naga People’s Front (NPF) in Nagaland if it severed ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This comes in the run-up to the assembly polls to be held in Nagaland, Meghalaya, and Tripura to be held at the end of this month.
The events that transpired
The NPF snapped a 15-year alliance with the BJP in the state after the saffron party decided to contest the election instead of shunning it as a mark of protest against the lack of a solution to the Naga regionalist issue. However, the NPF continues to be a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) outside Nagaland. The state’s ruling NPF has announced it will contest in 58 assembly segments. The BJP has partnered with the Nagaland Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) led by former CM Neiphiu Rio. BJP will contest 20 assembly seats while NDPP will contest the remaining 40 seats.
Currently, the NPF is a part of North-East Regional Political Front (NERPF) consisting of political parties of the northeast which has supported the NDA (India) in 2014 elections. NERPF has now been expanded to the North-East Democratic Alliance or NEDA which is a political coalition formed by the BJP along with regional political parties like NPF, Sikkim Democratic Front, People’s Party of Arunachal, Asom Gana Parishad and Bodoland People’s Front in Northeast India. The motive of the new political front is to protect the interest of the people of the region as well as uniting non-Congress parties in Northeast India.
NPF, along with 10 other parties on January 29, had decided to not contest the Nagaland polls in line with the demand of tribal bodies for an early solution to the Naga problem However, almost all parties followed suit when BJP went ahead and released its list of candidates, and the Nagaland elections are sure to take place with almost all major parties participating in it. The only damage amidst this drama seems to be that NPF has severed its ties with the BJP in Nagaland. Now, the Congress is trying to cash in by trying to sway the NPF onto their side. “Any effort to keep the BJP at bay in Nagaland is welcome. We will go all out to ensure that the BJP does not open its account this time,” said Captain Praveen Davar, a Congress observer for Nagaland.
How is this relevant?
The NPF-BJP pact being broken in Nagaland is important for two reasons: on the state level and the national level. On the state level, this comes with less than a month to go for Nagaland polls. A change in alliance and formation of two potential alliances, BJP-NDPP and NPF- Congress (if it takes place) is sure to affect seat sharing agreements, vote share and hence the final outcome of the elections. On the national level, this comes a part of the wave of friction within the NDA. Already, two NDA members- Shiv Sena and Telugu Desam Party, have expressed a desire or have already decided to contest elections individually in 2019. With the amount of anti-incumbency inside the country, BJP cannot afford to lose allies as it may come at the expense if an absolute majority in 2019. While there may not be an anti-BJP wave inside the country, there is definitely an anti-BJP wave inside the NDA. BJP must stop it.
Featured Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius