Naga People’s Front (NPF), the oldest regional party in the northeast, has suffered a setback in Nagaland.
The NPF managed to win two seats, a fall from the 26 seats it won in 2018 to become the single-largest party.
NPF president and former Chief Minister, Shurhozelie Liezietsu attributed his party’s poor performance to the “money game” of opponents. Money is said to play a major role in deciding who wins in Nagaland, although the victors claim otherwise.
“We cannot compete with others where money is concerned but our party is rooted in the Naga society and will be there for all time to come,” he said from the State capital Kohima.
“As the only regional party representing the identity of the Naga people and defending their democratic rights, we have our principles to fall back on. Our values will help us shine through although there seems to be no political ideology now,” Mr. Liezietsu said.
He said the NPF is the oldest regional party in the northeast, born in 1963 as the Democratic Party of Nagaland. The party changed the nomenclature several times before settling with NPF.
The NPF ruled Nagaland for 15 years from 2003 in alliance with the BJP and other parties. Its fortunes started dipping ahead of the 2018 Nagaland polls when Neiphiu Rio quit and the BJP struck a seat-sharing deal with the party he joined, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
The NPF suffered another jolt in 2022 when 21 of its MLAs joined the NDPP, although the party had joined the NDPP-BJP alliance government to make the Nagaland Assembly Opposition-less.
The NPF, however, continues to be a member of the BJP-fronted North East Democratic Alliance. The party has five MLAs in the adjoining Manipur, where it is a minor ally of Nongthombam Biren Singh’s BJP-led government.