GUWAHATI: Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) in Nagaland finds itself in a mess that was its own creation.
Despite being the single largest party in state Assembly, the NPF had not contested the April 11 elections to the state’s lone Lok Sabha seat and instead, backed the Congress.
The decision ruffled the feathers of a section of its leaders. So, first, seven MLAs ditched the party and openly campaigned for the consensus candidate of the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) to champion the cause of regionalism. Two days ago, the NPF chiefs of seven Assembly segments quit the party alleging “dictatorial” functioning of party leadership. Despite the rebellion, the party appears least perturbed.
“The NPF is deeply rooted in the society. We may have faced some setback at the moment, but we are not worried. It is a temporary phase,” party chief Shurhozelie Liezietsu told TNIE.
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He said the party’s decision to not contest the polls and lend its support to the Congress was aimed at bringing the “secular” political parties together.
“We fielded a candidate in Outer Manipur seat in Manipur and we are optimistic about victory there. In Nagaland, as the NDPP (Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party) and BJP are going strong, we thought the secular parties should come together. We decided to support the Congress only on that ground,” Liezietsu said.
NDPP and BJP are the two major PDA constituents. The NPF leadership had earlier suspended the seven MLAs for warming up to the NDPP and filed a petition before the Assembly speaker seeking their disqualification.
Liezietsu was confident the speaker will deal with the matter sooner than later. “We will watch for some time,” he said.
As regards the resignation of the NPF presidents of seven Assembly segments, he said, “We received reports that some of them resigned while the signatures of some others were forged. We are going to find out who the culprit is.”
Rechristened from erstwhile Nagaland People’s Council, the NPF ruled the state for three terms on the trot from 2003-2018. However, it started losing the space ever since the emergence of NDPP, which is believed to be the brainchild of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. He had floated the party as he got increasingly cornered within the NPF.