NDPP MLAs to meet tomorrow to elect Rio as leader

Former CM Rio said his group has the support of 32 MLAs.

The Nagaland governor has also asked TR Zeliang to prove his majority within 48 hours.

Indications are that the saffron party, which contested on 20 seats in a pre-poll alliance with NDPP, could finally bring three-time chief minister Rio back into state politics. BJP Nagaland unit president V Lhoungu said the party's MLAs made a decision to go with the pre-poll alliance partner, the NDPP, during a meeting in Dimapur on Sunday evening. The NDPP and the BJP won 18 and 12 seats respectively while the lone JD (U) MLA G Kaito Aye and Independent legislator Tongpang Ozukum were backing the alliance, NDPP Secretary General Abu Metha said.

"We helped the BJP in Manipur when they needed four MLAs to form the government".

The Bharatiya Janata Party and the Nationalist Democratic People's Party contested the polls in an alliance, winning 30 of the 60 seats.

"But later NDPP candidate Namri Nchang was declared victor after recounting of votes without the presence of NPF polling agents and the candidate".

N.R. Zeliang is the brother of Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang, who has won the adjoining Peren Assembly constituency.

Sarma was also confident that the long protracted Naga political issue would be solved with a stable government in the state.

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The NPF had, however, informed the governor apprising him of a pre-poll understanding with the NPP and JD (U).

Acharya said he told Zeliang about JD (U) legislator submitting letter of support to Rio on Sunday morning.

While the fight between the NDPP and NPF remained neck and neck, it is the decisive seat gain for the BJP party. BJP leaders are likely to meet the governor on Tuesday and submit a letter expressing support to the NDPP.

Mr Rio, who refused to reveal details of the agreement sealed with the BJP on the representation of parties in the government, said the coalition would be called "People's Democratic Alliance".

"Zeliang is also right and let the letter come and let him be convinced whether the BJP is with him or not".

On the Supreme Court judgement banning appointment of parliamentary secretaries and advisers, Rio said, "We will go by the rules".

Rajat Sethi, a northeast observer and adviser to the Biren Singh government in Manipur, says that despite allegations about BJP's "communal agenda", strategies crafted by party chief Amit Shah and BJP leader Ram Madhav have managed to push the NPF to the corner. Efforts of reporters to reach Zeliang were unsuccessful.

  • Megan Austin