The Naga People's Front (NPF) has decided to withdraw support to the BJP-led government in Manipur, a senior party leader said on Sunday, 19 May.
NPF Manipur state unit president Awangbou Newmai on Sunday told PTI that “they were forced to take the decision to withdraw support as bigger parties were looking down upon smaller parties.”
He, however, said though the decision to withdraw support has been taken, it will be implemented after the entire electioneering process is complete on 23 May. A senior BJP leader said on Sunday that if the NPF withdraws support it will not have any effect on the coalition government.
The senior BJP leader told PTI that the BJP has 29 MLAs and has the support of one legislator each of the LJP, AITC and an Independent in the 60-member Manipur Assembly. The NPF has four MLAs.
The Congress had 29 MLAs after the 2017 Assembly polls, but eight of its legislators defected to the BJP last year, taking its tally from 21 to 29 in the Assembly.
Newmai claimed the NPF was "forced" to take the decision to withdraw support as the "BJP has not honoured some of the agreements that were agreed upon when the coalition government was formed back in 2017."
“We have been patient for some two years” Newmai said, adding the bigger party “looks down on smaller groups.” Still, as representatives of the people, “we desire that respect be given to other parties.”
"The BJP has never respected the spirit of alliance since the formation of government in 2017. There have been instances when their leaders have refused to consider our members as alliance partners," he said, without elaborating.
The BJP has denied the allegations made by the NPF leader.
The allegations made by the NPF are "totally baseless and unfounded". All possible cooperation has been extended to our coalition partners for smooth functioning of the government, said a senior BJP leader.
A meeting of senior NPF leaders was held in Kohima on Saturday, 18 May, evening to decide whether to stay in the Manipur coalition government.
The meeting was held at the NPF's central office in Kohima, which was attended by party chief Shurhozelie Liezietsu, opposition leader in Nagaland Assembly T R Zeliang, NPF core committee members and the party MLAs in Manipur.
"We had threadbare deliberations on the attitude of the BJP government in Manipur towards NPF legislators, which dwelled on withdrawing support, but the final decision is yet to be taken," NPF spokesperson Ahcumbemo Kikon told PTI.
He said the NPF central leaders and legislators from Manipur were of the view that their decision should not disturb the electioneering process.
"The final call on withdrawing from the BJP-led government in Manipur will be taken only after the completion of the entire electioneering process," he added.