Close on the heels of the swearing-in of the 12-member PDA 2.0 alliance led by chief minister Neiphiu Rio which was followed by the appointment of 24 elected members from both NDPP and BJP, barring one NDPP member- there are speculations of the ‘expected’ formation of the third opposition-less government is gaining ground.
Nagaland Post on its March 4 issue reported on opinions of several non-NDPP and non-BJP parties that the recently elected members who will be take oath as members of the 14th Nagaland Legislative Assembly, were expecting to be part of the formation of the third opposition-less government.
The pre-poll alliance of NDPP with 25 and BJP with 12 elected members are in absolute majority with 37 in a house of 60. NDPP increased its tally from 18 in 2018 to 25 in 2023 while the BJP won the same number of 12 seats both in 2018 and 2023.
While NDPP functionaries remained tight lipped about an opposition-less government, BJP appeared less enthusiastic especially with regard to NCP as the latter is not part of NDA. The NPP is part of BJP-led NEDA headed by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. The LJP and RPI are also part of NDA at the Centre. The JD(U) which won one seat in Nagaland was dissolved when party unit expressed support to Rio without obtaining approval of the national leaders.
Even if not an ideal situation the opposition-less government has been justified on the basis of getting all MLAs and society including Naga stakeholders on board especially since solution including ENPO issue is likely to dominate the political landscape in the next coming months. Leaders of parties which have expressed support to the Rio-led coalition government include: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) led by founder-president Sharad Pawar with 7 members; National People’s Party led by its national president and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangama with 5 members; JD (U) with one member, NPF, Lok Jan Shakti (Ram Vilas), Republican Party of India (Ramdas Athwale) with 2 members each and 4 Independents, have expressed support to the coalition government.
Even though the non-PDA parties have 23 elected members, they have shown no inclination to form a post-poll opposition alliance. This is because most of the elected members of several parties are considered close associates of either chief minister Neiphiu Rio or ticket aspirants of BJP.
All non-NDPP and non-BJP political parties which won seats in the recently held assembly election, have announced support to the Rio-led coalition government. Whether the ‘support’ will be with or without pre-condition is not clear. A pre-condition means given some position as part of the government. However, in the UDA the four NPF legislators in the previous house were not given any official position.
It may be recalled that the opposition-less government phenomenon first started in Nagaland in 2015 (under NPF-led DAN III which included BJP and Congress). The second was in 2021 under PDA after 25 opposition NPF legislators joined the government to form the United Democratic Alliance (UDA).