Naga Republic News
The ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) looked set at returning to power winning an impressive 27 seats in the elections held on February 27. With pre-poll alliance partners, the National People’s Party (NPP) and JD (U) winning 2 and 1 seats respectively, the NPF needed only one more to reach the magic figure of 31 seats. However by early evening the NDPP-BJP Alliance was able to quickly rope in not just the single Independent but even the JD (U) to its side taking its tally to 31 seats.
Despite the BJP doing much better than expected—winning an impressive 12 seats of the 20 it contested—its major alliance partner, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) clearly failed to deliver the final punch, ending with less than expected— 17 seats. As a result the NDPP-BJP Alliance managed to get 29 seats, falling short of the simple majority mark of 31 in an Assembly of 60 seats.
The final verdict of elections 2018 in Nagaland has been split right down the middle with the ruling Naga Peoples Front (NPF) emerging as the single largest party with 27 seats and together with its alliance partner, the National People’s Party (NPP) with 2 seats, it gets to exactly 29 seats. One seat each went to the JD (U) and an Independent, likely to play a crucial role in government formation.
In fast moving developments, the Independent candidate, Tongpang Ozukum, who won from 24 Angetyongpang Assembly Constituency under Mokokchung District, has extended a letter of support to the NDPP-BJP Alliance. Later in the evening as prospect of government formation looked murky, the JD (U) party under direction from the central leadership has also extended support to the NDPP-BJP Alliance taking its overall tally to 31 seats.
Independent candidate, Tongpang Ozukum seen here with his letter of support handed over to NDPP Chief Ministerial candidate Neiphiu Rio
With this the NDPP-BJP Alliance is poised to form the next government in Nagaland despite the narrow margin of victory.
Earlier in the afternoon, against the political uncertainty arising out of this split verdict, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav and Minister of State Kiren Rijiju, election in-charge of Nagaland, had reportedly reached out to the NPF for a post-poll alliance.
However it appears that former Chief Minister Neiphiu was working hard and fast in back channel talks to rope in the lone Independent and the JD (U) candidate, none other than G. Kaito Aye, a Rio supporter from the NPF days. With this development, Rio can be expected to form the government despite the close finish.
G. Kaito Aye of the JD (U) seen with NDPP CM candidate Neiphiu Rio and BJP leader Ram Madhav
All eyes will be on the NPF legislators and whether the NPF and NPP will be able to provide a credible opposition to the ruling NDPP-BJP Alliance. A strong and credible opposition is much needed for democracy in Nagaland. However with Rio expected to form the next government, some NPF MLAs crossing over to the ruling alliance cannot be ruled out!
Check final election results in link below