Contending that the Bharatiya Janata Party does not pay heed to its ideas and suggestions, the NPF, a partner in the saffron party-led alliance in the state, has convened a meeting of its leaders on Saturday to decide if it would continue to stay in the coalition or withdraw support. Denying the allegation, the BJP said it has extended all possible cooperation to its partners to ensure smooth functioning of the government.
The NPF has four MLAs in the 60-member Assembly. Even if the party pulls out, it wouldn't impact the BJP-led coalition, which currently has 29 legislators in the House. Eight of the 28 Congress MLAs, who had won the 2017 polls, defected to the BJP last year, taking its tally from 21 to 29 in the Assembly. The other parties in the ruling coalition are NPP (4), LJP (1), Independent (1) and AITC (1).
Talking to PTI, Awangbou Newmai, the state unit chief of the Naga People's Front (NPF), claimed that the BJP "looks down" on its alliance partners. "The BJP has never respected the spirit of alliance since the formation of government in 2017. There have been instances when their leaders have refused to consider our members as alliance partners," he said, without elaborating.
Newmai also said that the saffron party did not live up to the promises it made to its coalition partners. "The NPF has always considered the BJP as its big brother, but that did not stop the saffron party from bluffing to us. We haven't got our due respect," he claimed.
Rebutting Newmai's assertions, Ch Bijoy, the spokesperson of the BJP, said the NPF had maintained that it did not want any ministerial berth while joining the alliance, but now, it seems, the party has several demands. Of the four NPF MLAs in the Assembly, Loshii Dikho, who won from the Mao Assembly seat, is a cabinet minister.
(With inputs from agencies.)