ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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How BJP Won without Winning in Nagaland

Nagaland politics is probably at its nadir at this moment. The events of the few months before the assembly election, the results for which were declared on 3 March 2018, demonstrate this. Moreover, the formation of a new government was delayed for a few days after the results were declared.

This article was earlier published on EPW Engage.

It was a hung verdict, but the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) skilfully and cunningly put itself in a position where it would not lose, even though it did not have the numbers to lead. Two political parties—the Naga People’s Front (NPF), led by outgoing Chief Minister T R Zeliang, and the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), led by Zeliang’s bitter rival and former Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio—had emerged at the top of the table with the NPF bagging 27 seats (four short of a majority in the house of 60) and the NDPP 17. The NDPP is a very new political party which Rio formed in the last few weeks before the elections after breaking away from the NPF. The BJP managed to return a credible 12 seats, while the remaining four seats were shared between National People’s Party (two seats), Janata Dal (United) (one seat), and Independent (one seat).

The BJP’s support hence became crucial. The single largest party, NPF, could have done without the BJP, but none of the smaller parties were ready to be its partner. The NDPP did not have the numbers either and this was so even after the BJP offered its 12 seats. However, after this decision of the BJP, the support of the smaller parties became almost a natural consequence, given that all of them preferred to be on the side of the party in power at the centre. Now, the state is preparing for another term with Rio as chief minister.

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Updated On : 26th Mar, 2018
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