Major regional parties of the North Eastern states, including Asom Gana Parishad and the ruling parties of Nagaland and Sikkim, have in principle decided to form a common platform to fight for issues concerning the region and contests polls together.
The decision to form ‘North Eastern Democratic Front’ was taken at a meeting attended by NCP leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma, AGP leader and former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, NPF chief and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, SDF president and Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, besides others.
The meeting, also attended by representatives of Trinamool Congress, Manipur’s MPP, Mizoram’s MNF, decided to contest elections, wherever possible, jointly and fight for issues concerning the North-East together, sources said.
Sunday night’s meeting was held at the official residence of Mr. Sangma’s daughter and Union Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha Sangma.
A formal declaration about formation of the Front would be made next month in Guwahati, they said.
The timing of revival of the regional plank is significant. AGP has this time decided to maintain distance from national parties, mainly the BJP, and opted to join hands with smaller regional parties for the Assam assembly polls due in May.
This is Mr. Sangma’s third attempt at bringing all the regional parties together. In 2009, he had made attempts to revive the defunct North-East People’s Front. At least 13 non-Congress parties had then joined hands and fought 2009 Parliamentary polls together.
The North-East People’s Front was first launched about seven years ago.
The North-East states together have a strength of 25 MPs in the Lok Sabha, out of which 14 are from Assam.