At a time when the BJP and its ally NDPP announced NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio as the chief ministerial candidate, NPF president Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu has reportedly said 2018 Nagaland election will not just be a contest between the political parties for government formation, but it will be a “contest between outside forces and the force of Naga people”.
Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) leader and former three-time Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has been announced elected unopposed by the Election Commission from the Northern Angami-II constituency.
On the other hand, NPF leader and Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang is confident of coming to power again as they have stood by their belief and faith in the “guiding principles and objectives of restoration of peaceful environment in the land”.
Zeliang on Wednesday commented on his Twitter handle, “The Naga People’s Front [NPF] has always been true to its name and philosophy. For years we have been the true front for Naga people. We have stood by our belief and faith in the guiding principles and objectives of restoration of peaceful environment in the land.”
The Naga People’s Front (NPF), the ruling party in Nagaland and Manipur, headed the Nagaland government with the BJP, as part of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) since 2003.
The NPF also had 15-year-old alliance with the BJP in Nagaland.
The regional party was also a component of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
The BJP and the newly-formed NDPP had stitched an alliance on January 3. While NDPP is contesting 40 of the 60 seats in the Nagaland assembly, the BJP is contesting in the remaining 20 seats.
NPF president, Liezietsu has also stated that the NPF party’s top-most priority since its inception in 1964 was for solution to the Naga political problem and their priority has remained the same without any change.
Union Minister of State for Home and senior BJP leader Kiren Rijiju recently confirming snapping of the alliance with the NPF had said he hoped that the BJP and NDPP would be able to get absolute majority in Nagaland in the forthcoming polls and form the next government in the State.
Three-time Nagaland CM Rio was first elected to Nagaland Legislative Assembly as a Congress (I) candidate from the Northern Angami-II constituency in 1989.
As a Congress member Rio was Nagaland’s Home Minister in SC Jamir ministry from 1998 till 2002 when he resigned from the ministry accusing Jamir of blocking a negotiated settlement of the Naga political issue.
Rio then joined the Naga People’s Front which joined hands with other Naga regionalist parties and the Nagaland unit of the BJP, and formed the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN), a coalition which won the 2003 Nagaland Assembly polls.
Ending the 10-year Congress rule, Rio took over as the Nagaland Chief Minister on March 6 in 2003.