Former Home Minister Y Patan elected as leader of BJP legislature party

Can tie-up with BJP put Rio back in the saddle?

Addressing a press conference at Hotel Vivor, where MLAs of NDPP have been camping since the fractured verdict hit the state, Sarma confirmed that BJP will go with its pre-poll alliance partner to form the government under the chief ministership of Neiphiu Rio.

The NDPP received a big boost when the Election Commission gave its nod to the returning officer of the 6-Tenning constituency to declare its candidate Namri Nchang as the victor, raising the final tally of the party to 18.

However, chief minister T.R. Zeliang, a former ally of the BJP, has refused to resign and staked claimed to power, saying he is in touch with the national party and his NPF-led alliance has the largest number of 29 MLAs.

In that meeting, also attended by Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda, Y. Patton was unanimously elected as the BJP Legislature Party leader.

One of the first priorities of a BJP-supported government here will be to bring in a settlement to the talks with the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and other groups. Mr Rio has been the state Chief Minister from 2003 to May 2014 when he had shifted to the central politics as a Parliamentarian. Both the NPF and the NDPP-BJP combine are short of the majority mark of 31 in the 60-member House.

The BJP state unit is presently meeting in Kohima.

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The figures at 6.30 pm indicated that the NPF had won 27 seats and its allies - Conrad Sangma's National People's Party and Janata Dal (United) had won one each.

The BJP was part of the NPF-led government in Nagaland till the Assembly elections but parted ways to join hands with the newly-formed NDPP. If Zeliang desires, he can meet them after formation of the government, Mr Sarma added.

Rio resigned as Nagaland chief minister on 24 May 2014 after winning the Lok Sabha seat from the state. He also assured that there is no threat to Manipur government "because we have huge a huge majority". "When Shurhouzelie severed ties with BJP in Nagaland it did not affect NPF in Manipur because in the NPF constitution Manipur NPF is registered as a different party", the BJP leader informed while asserting that the BJP would continue ties with Manipur NPF.

The NPF party issued a press release on Monday. stating 'news headlines appearing in print and electronic media erroneously or maliciously portraying Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang as desperately clinging on to the chair and refusing to resign has projected him in a very poor light'.

Commenting on Sarma's statement, the NPF said it was a "unilateral decision" of the BJP.


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