Mumbai: Bowing to the wishes of its elected legislators, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on Wednesday announced support to Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphu Rio, but stopped short of saying whether it would be part of the government.
After a meeting with Pawar and Baramati Lok Sabha member Supriya Sule on Tuesday, NCP general secretary Narendra Verma said the NCP chief had decided to accept the leadership of Chief Minister Rio “in the larger interest of the state of Nagaland”.
An NCP statement on Wednesday made no mention of the BJP, which is also a coalition partner of Rio’s Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
“On Tuesday morning, after listening to the North East in-charge he took the decision to accept the leadership of Mr N. Rio, Chief Minister of Nagaland, in the larger interest of the state of Nagaland,” Verma said in the statement.
The NCP had the best performance among the opposition parties, winning seven of the 12 seats it contested in the recently held assembly elections.
At the first meeting of NCP’s Nagaland legislature party on March 4 in Kohima, there was a discussion on whether the party should be a part of the government or it will play the role of main opposition.
The NCP said the newly-elected MLAs and its local unit were of the opinion the party must be a part of the government in the larger interest of the state and the good relationship that its MLAs share with Rio.
Pawar also approved the proposal to appoint NCP MLA Picto Shohe as the leader of the NCP Legislature Party in Nagaland.
Shohe was elected as MLA in 2018 on the Naga Peoples Front ticket. He later joined Rio’s NDPP, but crossed over to NCP after being denied ticket to contest elections.
Nagaland appeared headed towards a government supported by all political parties as NPP, NPF, LJP (Ram Vilas), RPI (Athawale), JD (United) and Independents have backed Rio.