Monday, August 8, 2022

Nagaland State BJP in internal turmoil over seat sharing formula

Staff Reporter

After the joint announcement made by the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) secretary general and national BJP in-charge of Nagaland Nalin Kohli that both parties will stick with the previous seat sharing formula of 40 (NDPP):20 (BJP), the issue has not been well received by the rank and file of the BJP.
State BJP’s legislature party leader and deputy chief minister Y. Patton had expressed dismay that he was not kept in the loop before the decision was made only betrayed the inherent factionalism within the saffron party.
According to sources, Patton had reportedly proposed for a 30:30 seat sharing formula, but it went unheeded. It is an open secret that the state BJP is plagued with factionalism especially between Patton and state unit president and minister of H&TE Temjen Imna Along. The latter is seen to be close with chief minister Neiphiu Rio.
Another senior member of the state BJP who spoke under condition of anonymity, told Nagaland Post that the seat sharing formula will be another mortal blow for the party. He explained that the state BJP has been working hard to expand its reach across Nagaland during the past many years.
He said Central BJP leaders had also been supporting the work done by state BJP leaders to set up party units across various districts in Nagaland.
In 2018, when central leaders such as Ram Madhav chose to go for the 40:20 seat sharing formula with NDPP, he said the party organisation suffered. According to the BJP functionary, state BJP had set up networks in almost 60 assembly constituencies. He said when the 40:20 formula was agreed, BJP workers in the 40 assembly seats “ceded” to the NDPP had nowhere else to turn to but to support the NDPP. He claimed that in the 2018 assembly election, in almost all 40 constituencies, BJP workers who worked for NDPP eventually joined the latter.
After the BJP central let down its state unit workers in 2018, he said the state unit has been working hard to restart the work to regain its base and strengthen itself in the succeeding years. He said state BJP has been able to spread its wings across 60 assembly constituencies due to the hard work of unit leaders and with support of national BJP leaders.
However, the seat sharing formula of 40:20 was going to be another blow on the state BJP, he said since it will practically mean leaving the loyal party workers in the 40 constituencies in the lurch and lead to a virtual rebellion.
It may also be noted that in the 2018 election, most of the BJP members elected won by narrow margins in some constituencies and if the formula is followed in 2023 the dejection among the rank and file of the party could worsen the morale of the party workers.
He said in the 2018 election, in some constituencies BJP candidates lost to the candidates of the main challenger NPF with narrow margins. After 21 NPF legislators joined NDPP on the promise of getting NDPP tickets, he said BJP candidates who narrowly lost and who have good chance of winning in 2023 will be betrayed by the 40:20 formula for 2023.
The veteran BJP functionary said if BJP is given only 20 seats to contest then it will be the end of the party in Nagaland since it has the potential of winning good number of seats. He claimed that if the BJP contests in all 60 seats, the party will be in a pole position to decide the course of state politics and set itself on a firm political foundation in the state.


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