Monday, December 4, 2023
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Now, what’s cooking between NPF and BJP?

TR Amit Shah
T R Zeliang with Union Home Minister, Amit Shah

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 5: Politics is the art of the possible.
Even as there is strong argument that NPF and NDPP are exploring possibilities of merger in order to strengthen regional forces in Nagaland against the hegemonic politics of the pro-Hindutva BJP, some interesting anecdotes suggest there could be different games too.
In Manipur, the NPF is contesting 10 seats and even the BJP has named its candidates for each of these Assembly segments.
There was some speculation in Imphal that at the last moment, the Lotus party may not field any candidate against some of the NPF nominees.
Some say there was an element of possibility on this score as during the last 5 years through thick and thin the NPF has a maintained a low profile and harmonious relationship with the BJP and especially with Chief Minister N Biren Singh.
Meanwhile, the NPF headquarters and top leaders had gone overboard and summoned a meeting of the party’s highest policy making body, CEC at Kohima on Saturday, February 5.
“Now that meeting was postponed or cancelled”, a source told Nagaland Page.
Could these be linked to merger politics and the BJP high command’s veiled snub?
However, the Central Office Bearers meeting of the NPF was held at Kohima today.
Speaking of alliances in Manipur, in 2017 March the NPP of Conrad Sangma had bargained hard and managed to get Deputy Chief Minister’s post for Y Joykumar and ministerial berths for all other three. It even got the Finance portfolio.
On the other hand with the equal number of 4 MLAs (as NPP), the Naga People’s Front was fairly satisfied with only 1 Minister initially (Losi Dikho from Mao constituency).
It got the second ministership only in 2020 (Awangbou Newmai); and that also when one legislator and Congress defector was disqualified.
The NPF leaders in Nagaland also claimed that their party colleagues were not after individual ministership or personal agenda in Manipur and would remain committed to ‘serving the interests of Nagas’ in the State of Manipur.
Even in 2019 when CM N Biren Singh and a delegation of Meitei leaders including from Congress met Home Minister Amit Shah and wanted a commitment that no final agreement with Naga rebels could be inked without taking Manipur State on board, the NPF’s relationship with N Biren Singh remained unaffected.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the NPP failed to reach any political understanding with BJP or NPF and fielded its own candidate Thangminlien Kipgen in tribal-stronghold Outer Manipur constituency.
To the surprise of many, the NPP also supported the CPI candidate M Nara in the Inner Manipur Lok Sabha constituency.
But the NPF reached an agreement with the BJP and managed the Outer Manipur seat for Dr Lorho Pfoze.
During Rajya Sabha polls, the NPP even collided with the Congress only to return to the BJP-led regime with only 2 Ministers.
Now in the 2022 polls, several BJP candidates against NPF are too weak.
As an example, it is argued that S Alexander Maikho, who is now BJP nominee for Mao seat, is such a weak and virtually ‘disinterested’ candidate.
“Do you mean to say all these have happened accidentally? It’s not. Some BJP leaders from Manipur and NPF leaders reportedly met Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and a few important central leaders in Imphal”, said a source without elaborating further.