For the second time since 2015, the Nagaland Assembly may soon find itself unopposed. The Naga Popular Front (FNP), the main opposition party in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, which has 60 members, has offered to join the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) led by Neiphiu Rio so that a government multi-stakeholder can help achieve a rapid resolution of political problems of the Naga.
“We are seeking to form a non-opposition government to pursue the political issue of the Naga as soon as possible. All 25 NPF lawmakers will join the alliance. The question of the merger of the parties has not yet arisen… for the moment, we are only joining the alliance ”, declared the general secretary of the NPF, Achumbemo Kikon.
The Nagaland Assembly, which has 60 members, currently has 59 members, following the disappearance of a deputy earlier this month. The PDA coalition is led by the Progressive Democratic Nationalist Party (NDPP) of CM Rio with 21 MPs, and is supported by 12 BJP MPs and two independents. It is said that NPF lawmakers will join the coalition in about a week.
Also in 2015, when the NPF was in power with TR Zeliang as chief minister, eight congressmen joined the ruling coalition, leaving the assembly unopposed.
According to government sources, the development is rooted in a meeting between Union Interior Minister Amit Shah CM Rio and opposition leader Zeliang on the Naga peace issue a few months ago. In it, Shah called on the parties to work together to facilitate the peace process.
“A few days ago, the NPF submitted an official letter to the chief minister, saying that they wanted to be part of the alliance in order to speed up the peace process,” said a government source, who did not did not wish to be named. .
In a statement released on Tuesday, the NDPP said it “welcomed the resolution of the NFP legislature calling for unity” among members of the assembly. He added that the BJP would be consulted before moving the case forward. Nalin Kohli, head of BJP in Nagaland, arrived in Nagaland on Wednesday to discuss the developments.
In June, the Nagaland government notified the formation of a parliamentary committee to discuss the political issue of the Naga and act as a facilitator between the Naga groups and the Center. The committee includes the 60 members of the State Assembly, as well as the two parliamentarians from Nagaland.
The Naga movement is considered the oldest insurgency in India. In 1997, the government signed a ceasefire agreement with the largest Naga rebel group, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM). In 2015, negotiations for a solution to the Indo-Naga political problem began between the NSCN-IM and the Center.
In 2017, six other Naga armed formations, under the banner of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPG), joined the talks. These talks, however, reached a roadblock after the NSCN-IM maintained demands for a separate Naga flag and constitution.