GUWAHATI: In a surprise move, the MLAs of opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) in Nagaland have proposed to their legislature party leader TR Zeliang to take necessary steps for the formation of a “regional coalition” government claiming that all was not well in the state’s ruling coalition of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and BJP.
Nineteen of the NPF’s 26 MLAs made the proposal in a joint letter to Zeliang who is a former chief minister. They insisted on a “stable regional coalition” to deliver the goods to people and “face any eventualities in the upcoming Lok Sabha election”.
With 18 MLAs, the NDPP heads the state’s People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government that has the strength of 34 MLAs in the 60-member House. BJP (12), National People’s Party (two) and Janata Dal-United (one) are the other PDA constituents. An independent MLA is also giving his support to the government.
There are two theories doing the rounds over the move by the NPF MLAs. One is that they are attempting to make it an NDPP-NPF government and keep the BJP out of power. The second theory is that they are hungry for power and as such, they might defect to the NDPP. However, the NPF has denied any rift within the party. The NDPP too denied being approached by any NPF MLA.
“We have no contact with them. As far as I am concerned, I have not received any feelers from any of them,” NDPP president Chingwang Konyak told this newspaper.
He said the NPF MLAs were possibly “frustrated”. “We are watching. As regards partners in the PDA, we are working well with all of them and we are united,” he claimed.
Similarly, NDPP leader and Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said, “We are having a very stable government with our alliance partners. We have nothing against any of our alliance partners”.
A BJP leader described the move of the NPF MLAs as a conspiracy. “It is a conspiracy being hatched by them but they will not succeed,” he said without going into details.
Imkong L Imchen, who is one of the NPF MLAs, said 25 NPF MLAs (19 could append their signatures in the letter) had left the matter of “regional coalition” to Zeliang and party chief Shurhozelie Liezietsu and they would go by the decision of the party leadership. If what the NPF MLAs are mooting is workable, the party leadership will take it up at the appropriate level, he said.
“It is an internal matter of the NPF. We are not putting it across to the NDPP or any other political party…I do hear that they (PDA allies) are not as comfortable as it appears to me,” Imchen claimed. He ruled out the possible defection of NPF MLAs to the NDPP.