NAGALAND: Rio meets Governor, stake claim for Govt formation

Kohima: Neiphiu Rio has the majority and should form the government, Nagaland governor P.B. Acharya said on Sunday after a meeting with the NDPP leader, who claimed he has the support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.

Mr Acharya said he had asked Mr Rio to submit the signatures of all 32 MLAs supporting him by Monday.

An order signed on Sunday by EC Secretary Arvind Kumar said a tabulation error made by the Returning Officer on Saturday led to the declaration of N.R. Zeliang of the Naga People's Front (NPF) as the victor of the Tenning constituency instead of Namri Nchang of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP). This was accepted by Nagaland Governor PB Acharya, who said the three-time Chief Minister had majority and should form the Government. However, sources told ThePrint that the JD (U) candidate G. Kaito Aye from Satakha and independent candidate Tongpang Ozukum from Angetyongpang are likely to switch over to the NDPP-BJP side, with the two winning NPP candidates also expected to follow suit soon.

In the final result of the Nagaland Assembly poll, BJP has won 12 seats, while NDPP won 17, 27 by NPF, 2 by NPP and one each by JD (U) and Independent.

IN A stalemate familiar to Nagaland politics, a former chief minister has staked claim to form the government, while the incumbent has refused to resign.

He hoped that a new government will be installed in the state at the earliest.

NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu earlier said: "The people of Nagaland are with us and they want us to form the government".

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The BJP won 11 seats and the newly floated NDPP 16. With this, the total number of seats in support of the alliance has gone up to 32 - one more than the majority mark of 31 in the 60-member Assembly.

Rajat Sethi, a northeast observer and adviser to the Biren Singh government in Manipur, says that despite allegations about BJP's "communal agenda", strategies crafted by party chief Amit Shah and BJP leader Ram Madhav have managed to push the NPF to the corner.

Acharya said he told Zeliang about JD (U) legislator submitting letter of support to Rio in the morning. In fact, chief minister T.R. Zeliang has been saying all along that the NPF was still with the BJP.

Union minister and BJP in-charge for the state Kiren Rijiju said today, that the party's erstwhile ally NPF may align with it. However, state Congress president K. Therie said that BJP's national integration approach will not allow for a Naga solution.

"Zeliang is also right and let the letter come and let him be convinced whether the BJP is with him or not".

Efforts of reporters to reach Zeliang were unsuccessful.

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