Nagaland Leader of Opposition TR Zeliang Credit: Twitter

Just days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and other legislators at Dimapur, 21 MLAs from the Naga People’s Front (NPF) party led by leader of its legislature party TR Zeliang have merged with Rio-led Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP). 

NDPP spokesperson Merentoshi Jamir said, “In order to strengthen the leadership of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and his government, as of this afternoon, 21 NPF MLAs have merged with the NDPP party officials. Along with them former Member of Parliament (MP) Rajya Sabha (RS) KG Kenye joined the NDPP.”

This move, he said, is to strengthen the government and the leadership of the CM, and also to strengthen their resolve in bringing about a settlement to the Naga issue. 

He said the NDPP welcomes all the 21 MLAs and will keep their doors open for others to join the party in the near future. 

While the present opposition-less government is comfortable, he said the party leaders probably felt that being under one political party will help, strengthen and push for the Naga political issue as being under one political party will help to further push for a solution. 

Although an opposition-less government, he said, it is not a party-less government. The present opposition-less government was formed last year on the pretext of the Naga political issue. 

As for the party’s alliance with the BJP, he said the alliance is “going on very well” and that neither the NDPP nor the BJP felt any threat and they hope to continue with the alliance. 

As per an order issued by Nagaland Speaker Sharingain Longkumer, the list of 21 MLAs excluded four NPF MLAs including senior politician Kuzholuzo Nienu, Khriehu Liezietsu, Ngangshi K Ao and Kezhiehyi Khalo.

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