Home Minister Amit Shah announced on Tuesday that Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio will lead the BJP and its affiliate Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in the Nagaland Assembly elections.
While addressing a rally at Tuensang for the Assembly elections on February 27, Shah said: “In Nagaland, NDPP and BJP are contesting the elections under the leadership of Neiphiu Rio while Narendra Modiji is our leader in the country. BJP and NDPP are not supporting candidates of any other party in Nagaland”.
Elections are being contested by the NDPP and BJP in a 40:20 seat split. Before the 2018 Assembly elections, the two parties merged, and they have been in power ever then.
The longest-serving CM in Nagaland is Rio, who is now 72. Though he had previously joined the Naga People’s Front, he was a prominent member of Congress (NPF). He left NPF in 2017 and started NDPP before running in the 2018 Assembly elections on a seat-sharing deal with the BJP.
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This time around, the NDPP and BJP are running for office in an effort to complete a second term in office.
In order to address the issues facing Eastern Nagaland, Shah stated that the Center would make a deal with the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO) following the elections.
“The MHA held a detailed discussion with the ENPO and reached an agreement about how to address the problems, whether it is rights-based or developmental needs. But an agreement could not be signed because of the Model Code of Conduct for the elections. After the elections, we will sign an agreement with ENPO to address all the problems of Eastern Nagaland,” Shah said.
Adding “The issues raised by ENPO about Eastern Nagaland are genuine”.
In addition to other things, the BJP’s manifesto for the upcoming Nagaland Assembly elections pledged to create an Eastern Nagaland Development Board and a specific economic package for the region’s development. Shah stated on Monday that the Center is also optimistic about resolving the seven-decade-old Naga dispute.
Over 30% of Nagaland’s population lives in the Eastern Nagaland, which consists of six districts and 20 Assembly seats. Tuensang, Mon, Kiphire, Longleng, Noklak, and Shamator are the six districts.
As a result of the government’s neglect of the issues in Eastern Nagaland, the ENPO and other organisations even called for a boycott of the Assembly elections.