(From left) JD(U) state unit president Senchumo NSN Lotha and general secretary Kitoho S Rotokha addressing the media in Kohima, Nagaland on Tuesday  Credit: EastMojo image

Kohima: A day after G Kaito Aye joined the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in Nagaland, the state unit of Janata Dal (United) said that its lone MLA defected due to pressure from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Addressing a press conference in Kohima on Tuesday, JD(U) state unit president Senchumo NSN Lotha said that Aye’s defection was “expected” as the party was aware of his meeting with Ram Madhav, the BJP national general secretary in charge of Northeast.

Alleging that Aye was rejected for the second time by the BJP who respected the alliance and didn’t want to displease JD(U)’s national president Nitish Kumar, Aye’s hope of staying with the JD(U) crashed, Lotha said.

A copy of JD(U) state general secretary Kitoho S Rotokha’s press statement dissolving the Nagaland unit and party leaders

According to Lotha, on the eve of joining NDPP, in a meeting with former JD(U) candidates, Aye had justified his merger saying, “Since BJP is giving pressure to the NDPP to drop me, I am compelled to join NDPP.”

However, on Wednesday, state BJP president Temjen Imna Along Longkumer, in a press conference, denied the allegation made by the JD(U) president that the BJP had pressured Aye to join NDPP.

A press statement issued by Nagaland minister G Kaito Aye

The JD(U) leader said he was shocked that despite the party’s loyalty in the alliance, the NDPP has “poached” the JD(U) leader. Reacting to the NDPP’s statement that all doubts of its rivals are put to rest since it was here for the long haul to grow from strength to strength, Lotha questioned if the statement’s meaning was to “poach and increase their strength”.

Also Read: Nagaland: Lone JD(U) MLA, executive members merge with ruling NDPP

Accusing NDPP of poaching leaders from its own alliance as “political hypocrisy”, Lotha questioned if “poaching is the principle of alliance”. Stating that there was no political party left that was not poached by the NDPP, he further guaranteed that the BJP (who is also in alliance) could be next and expressed concern for its natural ally. He also affirmed that the JD(U), even without its candidate, will stand in alliance with the BJP as long as the party considers them so.

The communique released by the National Democratic Progressive Party on Monday

In a press communique on Monday, CM Neiphiu Rio-led NDPP had welcomed the merger of the state JD(U) unit under the leadership of its lone minister along with the state executive members, office bearers and former candidates.

To this, Kitoho S Rotokha, JD(U) general secretary had said that “none of them are office bearers” as none who joined the NDPP represents the party but are just ex-candidates and that president and general secretary were not consulted. However, the exact figure of how many people joined NDPP is not provided.

Further, Rotokha said that the JD(U) at no point merged with NDPP, nor will it merge with it.

When asked about the June 22 dissolution of the JD(U) state unit and its party leaders, Rotoka said that while the seven leaders mentioned in the press statement were dissolved, he, who was authorised to dissolve the named leaders, along with the president are still registered members of the party.

The two leaders then expressed contentment that JDU is “cleaned of garbages which was stinking and destroying the good odour of the party” and that the party after consultation with the national party leaders will necessitate disciplinary action against the defected leader.

Meanwhile, in a press statement on Tuesday, Aye clarified that he had taken the decision to join NDPP “keeping in mind the interest of my people, their sustenance and overall development, and further in the interest of the people of Nagaland, vis-a-vis the Naga peace process”.

Contrary to the allegations made by the party president at the press conference, the statement issued by Aye read: “My decision to join the NDPP is selfless and not out of any political compulsion. Hence there is no cause for panic or disgruntlement.”

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