To refresh, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the BJP on July 26 last year jointly announced that the seat-sharing arrangement between them with the 40-20 formula would continue. The seat-sharing arrangement was first made in 2018 ahead of the elections to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. Accordingly, the NDPP contested in 40 seats while the BJP contested in 20 seats. Their election campaign that year was launched by Prime Minister Modi in Tuensang and they went on to form the government on March 8 of that year. In the July 26 joint statement issued by the NDPP and BJP, appended by the NDPP Secretary General Abu Metha and BJP In-Charge of Nagaland, Nalin Kohli, the two parties stated that they have mutually agreed to continue the alliance with the seat sharing formula in the forthcoming elections to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly. It was clearly mentioned that the NDPP would contest in 40 seats while the BJP would contest in 20 seats. It was also mentioned that there will be no friendly contest in any constituency. A core committee of NDPP and BJP members will formulate the election strategy to decide the seats at an appropriate time to decide in which seat each party will contest respectively, it was announced.


It appears things have changed a lot in the state political landscape since July 26, 2022. While the seat sharing arrangement between the two parties projected a strong alliance, guaranteeing their return to power, it was also seen as cementing the position of Neiphiu Rio as the Chief Minister. However, the anti-incumbency sentiment was brewing within. At the same time, it is now apparent that the BJP was always exploring the options despite announcing their seat sharing arrangement. It is now evidently clear that the amount of effort put in by the BJP in mobilizing and consolidating its position in every corner of the state was not for only 20 seats. The latest development making news is the top leaders of NDPP formally agreeing to join the BJP. MLAs jumping ship is nothing new in Nagaland and there is reason to believe that some NDPP MLAs might join the BJP, or at least resign to join the BJP, ahead of the election.


Another interesting development is that the reportedly hurriedly convened meeting held on Thursday was attended by at least 32 of the BJP ticket aspiring candidates. In the photos and visuals of the meeting circulating in public domain, the BJP in-charge of Nagaland who signed the July 26, 2022 joint statement, Nalin Kohli, and the Nagaland State BJP president Temjen Imna Along were nowhere to be seen. Former Chief Secretary of Nagaland and working president of NDPP, Alemtemshi Jamir, as well as MLA Imkong L Imchen and senior leader of NDPP TN Mannen were also in attendance at Thursday’s meeting. The BJP at this rate will certainly want to contest in more than 20 seats. And a weakened NDPP will not be able to hold sway in the alliance. This, most definitely, is the beginning of the end of the 40-20 seat sharing formula. It has served its purpose well – for BJP.

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