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Nagaland: 16 sitting MLAs miss out of candidates’ list of NDPP, BJP

Kohima, Feb 2 (IANS) The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), the dominant party of the all party United Democratic Alliance (UDA) government, on Thursday announced its candidates’ list of 40 nominees including two women, dropping 15 sitting MLAs.

NDPP’s ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) also announced a list of 20 candidates for the February 27 election to the 60-member Nagaland assembly.

The saffron party has dropped a sitting MLA.

The NDPP and the BJP had contested the 2018 elections with a 40:20 seat-sharing formula and the alliance partners in July last year have decided to continue with the same understanding.The main NDPP candidates are Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio (Northern Angami-II seat), G. Kaito Aye (Sataka) and Neiba Kronu (Pfutsero) and former Chief Minister and erstwhile Naga People’s Front (NPF) supremo T.R. Zeliang (Peren).

With 26 seats, the NPF had emerged as the single largest party in the 2018 elections, but the NDPP and the BJP managed to form a coalition government.

In April last year, 21 of the 26 NPF legislators led by Zeliang had “merged” themselves with the NDPP and formed the opposition less all party UDA government to expedite the Naga political dialogue with the Central government.

NDPP sources said that of the 15 MLAs dropped in the NDPP list, a majority are those who came from the NPF.

The NDPP list includes two women — Hekani Jakhalu from the Dimapur-III constituency and Salhoutuonuo Kruse from Western Angami.

BJP leader Nalin Kohli, while announcing the candidates’ list in Delhi, said: “We will contest 20 out of the 60 seats in Nagaland. The rest of the seats have been given to our alliance partner NDPP.”

According to the BJP list, Nagaland unit president Temjen Imna Along will contest from Alongtaki.

The BJP list of 20 candidates features Kahuli Sema as the lone woman. She is contesting the Atoizu constituency.

On Wednesday, the BJP Central Election committee held a meeting in Delhi on Nagaland candidates.

The Congress, which has no MLA in the assembly, is yet to announce its candidates list though the party had earlier announced to contest in all 60 seats alone.