No Opposition in Nagaland Assembly

Naga People’s Front joins Neiphiu Rio govt. to work unitedly to solve the Naga issue

August 16, 2021 05:53 pm | Updated August 17, 2021 09:42 am IST - GUWAHATI

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.

The 60-member Nagaland Assembly now has no MLA in the Opposition.

The Naga People’s Front (NPF) — the State’s only Opposition party — was on Monday inducted into the State government headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to “work collectively towards achieving a peaceful and amicable solution” to the protracted Naga political issue.

The issue pertains to the peace process with several extremist groups, primarily the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland, which has been hanging fire for more 24 years.

The Nagaland House has an effective strength of 59 after the death of an MLA. As the State’s only Opposition party, the NPF had won 25 seats in the 2018 Assembly elections but had suspended seven MLAs for hobnobbing with the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).

The NDPP had formed the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) government with the Bharatiya Janata Party and two Independents with a total MLA count of 34.

The PDA was renamed as Nagaland United Government after the NPF’s induction.

Leaders of the NDPP, NPF and BJP met on Monday and endorsed the concept of a “united government” toward achieving an honourable and acceptable solution to the Naga political issue.

“The decision to accept the Opposition-less united government has been taken unanimously by the primary PDA partners, namely NDPP and BJP including 2 (two) Independent MLAs supporting the PDA government…Henceforth, the government shall be called Nagaland United Government,” a joint statement said.

Apart from Mr Rio, the 12 signatories of the statement included Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Yangthungo Patton and NPF veteran T.R. Zeliang, a former Chief Minister.

The Core Committee of the Parliamentary Committee on Naga political issue had earlier resolved and affirmed the joint united approach in achieving a solution to the Naga political issue. The NPF legislature party had also endorsed the concept of Opposition-less government.

“The political parties shall appeal to all Naga Political Groups (read insurgent groups) to make serious efforts towards unity and reconciliation. The political parties shall ensure unity of their members in the Assembly on the issue,” the statement reads.

Mr Rio was with the NPF before falling out with the party and joining the NDPP floated ahead of the 2018 Nagaland polls.

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