NPF which has joined the PDA government after which the current United Democratic Alliance (UDA) was formed as an all-party and opposition-less government appears to be on two minds over the issue of backing the NDPP’s commitment on ceding the lone Rajya Sabha seat to the BJP.
Veteran Naga politician and NPF party president Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu is not inclined to accept the “pact” made between NDPP and BJP for the RS seat. He has therefore, written a letter to NPF legislature party leader T.R. Zeliang to enlist the support its NPF legislators to recommend the name of NPF working president and former minister Thenucho Tunyi as the NPF candidate.
The legislature party wing was yet to respond to the letter by NPF president Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu to NPF legislature party leader, T.R. Zeliang.
NPF sources indicated that the organisation was clear that it will set up a candidate and that the legislature proceed with the matter. On the unexpected turn of events, the sources said the NPF was in opposition and not part of the deal between NDPP and the BJP when Rio in 2019 promised to give BJP the RS seat. NPF then was in opposition and had backed the Congress candidate who narrowly lost to PDA consensus candidate from NDPP. Sources also contend that if BJP wanted to go by the 2019 promise made by Rio to the party in exchange for support for the NDPP candidate during the Lok Sabha election, then there should have been discussions for setting up a consensus candidate among the present UDA constituents.
Speaking to Nagaland Post, NPF secretary general Achumbemo Kikon clarified the party’s stand that there was no dispute on the decision to set up a party candidate. It was learnt that the NPF legislators were scheduled to hold a meeting on Sunday to discuss the issue but it was not held. When contacted, TR Zeliang informed Nagaland Post that the meeting could not be held since he was out of station.
Zeliang, said that he had entrusted senior NPF legislator and spokesperson Imkong L. Imchen to convene the meeting of the legislators on Monday morning to taken the “final call”.
Another NPF legislator, when contacted, said that the decision of the MLAs will be made known only after the meeting on Monday and before the commencement of Assembly session.
It was also learnt that Thenucho had met with TR Zeliang and some senior leaders on Saturday night to discuss the matter. Thenucho reportedly rushed to Guwahati Sunday morning to meet with some BJP leaders, sources said. However, there was no information about the outcome of Thenucho’s meeting in Guwahati.
As reported, a senior NPF legislator had said that MLAs at a meeting held on March 18 “decided not to file nominations as BJP candidate is a consensus of BJP and NDPP.” Now that the party organisation has decided to contest the election against BJP, the onus now lies with NPF MLAs and how they wriggle out of a situation.