Eknath Shinde mocks NCP for backing NDPP-BJP govt. in Nagaland

  Sanjay Raut defends NCP’s decision in Nagaland, says decision taken in interests of stable governance

Updated - March 10, 2023 12:27 am IST

Published - March 09, 2023 11:08 pm IST - Pune

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde | File Photo

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde | File Photo | Photo Credit: PTI

Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has hit out at the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) for its decision to back the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Nagaland.

The NCP is in the Opposition Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra.

Mocking what he termed “opportunist tactics”, Mr. Shinde, whose Shiv Sena is allied with the BJP in Maharashtra, pointed out that the NCP had made the same move after the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly election by offering unsolicited support to the BJP.

“What they [the NCP] are doing in Nagaland today, had been done by them in 2014 in Maharashtra as well [offering to support the BJP].They accuse us of being ‘communal’ and a ‘government of traitors’. I only wish to say that people living in glass houses should not throw stones,” Mr. Shinde said.

In the recently concluded Nagaland Assembly elections, the NDPP won 25 seats and the BJP won 12. NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio was sworn in as Chief Minister for a fifth term. The newly formed Cabinet comprises seven Ministers from the NDPP and five from the BJP. The NCP — a fierce opponent of the BJP in Maharashtra — emerged as the third-largest party in the Nagaland election with seven seats, and announced its decision to back the NDDP-BJP alliance, leaving the Nagaland Assembly with no strong Opposition.

In announcing his party’s support for the Nagaland government, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had clarified that his party’s support was “for CM Rio and not the BJP.”

“In neighbouring Meghalaya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Home Minister [Amit Shah] had accused the current CM [Conrad Sangma] and other leaders of the National People’s Party being knee-deep in corruption during the poll campaign. Even after saying this, the BJP formed the government with Mr. Sangma’s NPP. We have not taken recourse to such double standards,” said Mr. Pawar.

Shiv Sena (Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray) leader Sanjay Raut justified the NCP’s decision, saying the move was taken in the interest of a stable government in a State that often faced threats of terrorism and security risks. He said that it was “not the first time such an experiment had taken place in Nagaland, a border State even more sensitive than Kashmir in terms of geopolitics and security issues”.

“I think the NCP had fallen a little short in communicating this to the people regarding their decision. Nagaland’s geopolitical and security concerns are even more serious than Kashmir. It regularly faces the threat of terrorism. So, there is a need there for a united government,” said Mr. Raut, whose party is in alliance with the NCP in Maharashtra.

At the same time, Mr. Rawat stressed, the Thackeray-led Shiv Sena would never accept the BJP as an ally in the future even if some favourable situation arose.

“The people of Maharashtra will not forgive the BJP for the manner in which they have destroyed a pro-Hindutva party fighting for the self-respect of the Marathi-speaking people by misusing Central agencies,” said Mr. Raut.

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