The Nagaland unit of BJP has been facing unrest following a public spat between Deputy Chief Minister and BJP’s floor leader in state Assembly Y. Patton and the party’s Nagaland in-charge Nalin Kholi over the recent seat sharing deal between BJP and NDPP for the assembly election scheduled next year.
Patton has alleged that Kohli did not consult the state BJP leaders and workers (karyakartas) before finalising the alliance with NDPP led by Chief Minister Neiphu Rio. A known opponent of Rio, Paton has been camping in Delhi since July 28, two days after the two parties announced in the national capital that announced that they would jointly contest the 2023 Assembly election in Nagaland.
“The NDPP will contest 40 seats and we will contest 20,” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also is the convenor of the North East Democratic Alliance, a BJP-fronted forum for anti-Congress regional parties in the northeast, told journalists on July 26.
However, this announcement did not go down well with Patton.
“We aren’t a regional party. Of course, it’s up to the national leadership to decide our fate. We have to follow whatever they decide and finalise. But, at least, Kohli could have consulted and informed BJP legislators and workers before taking a decision,” Patton told India Today NE.
Patton and some other BJP leaders who did not want to come out in the open believe that the current seat sharing formula is damaging to BJP’s prospects in the polls and future growth. In 2018, of the 40 seats NDPP contested, it won only 18 while BJP won 12 out of the 20 seats it contested. “Even if BJP goes alone, it is likely to score better and Lotus will bloom in Nagaland,” he said.
Meanwhile, several BJP leaders India Today NE spoke to pointed out that Patton was present in a meeting which was held in June in Guwahati in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam CM Sarma, Nagaland CM Rio, and Nagaland BJP president Temjen Imna Along. They claim that the decision on 40:20 seat sharing was taken in that meeting.
On being asked about Patton’s claim that many karyakartas are upset with the seat sharing decision, Along told India Today NE: “I may not understand the emotion of every karykarta. If I were to know, I would have been married already.” The 41-year-old state BJP president has become a social media sensation recently over his hilarious comments, which included a response to a Google search on his marital status.
In response to Patton’s allegations, Kohli said that Sarma’s announcement on July 26 was categorical and reflected the general mood of BJP in Nagaland. Sarma tweeted about the alliance following meeting with Rio and Shah in Delhi.
“Patton is the senior leader of the party and elder to me. I have enormous respect for him. I am sure with his experience he is aware how party decisions are taken and how all of us work in that direction,” Kohli told India Today NE.
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