A day after Nagaland’s deputy chief minister Yanthungo Patton caused a stir by calling Bharatiya Janata Party national president JP Nadda’s decision of continuing a 40-20 seat-sharing arrangement with the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) “just a statement", its state unit was busy trying to assuage the feelings of its ally.
To undo the effect of Patton’s remarks that he would “discuss and consult with BJP workers " once back in Nagaland and that the seat-sharing deal with NDPP should not be considered final, the local unit issued a statement emphasising that the arrangement was settled and welcomed by the state BJP.
Sources in the BJP said that NDPP leaders were upset with Patton’s comments and the state leadership had to reassure them about the commitment the party has made to chief minister Neiphiu Rio. Besides that, it also issued a statement, reiterating the commitment made by the central leadership of the BJP.
“Giving 40 seats to a principal ally does not mean that we will not strengthen our organisation in the assembly seats that will be fought by our ally. His (Patton’s) acts are only damaging the BJP in the state. Patton is expected to rally those who are harbouring a desire to contest from those 40 seats. Our central leadership has decided on seat-sharing and it will be accepted by every worker of the party,” said a BJP source.
The statement issued by BJP Nagaland refrained from commenting on Y Patton. In fact, it praised him for his “visionary leadership".
“The continuation of the alliance and the seat sharing formula is reflective of the alliance’s tireless endeavour to provide good governance to the people of Nagaland. While there is much more work to be done, we are inspired by the visionary leadership of Neiphiu Rio, CM, and Y Patton, deputy CM, for which the central leadership has once again reposed their faith upon state leaders,” the statement issued by BJP Nagaland president Temjen Imna Along said.
Mmhonlumo Kikon, BJP’s national spokesperson, reiterated that the seat-sharing formula was a positive step taken in the right direction.
“This is not a new arrangement and we fought elections together on 40 seats to NDPP and 20 to BJP in the 2018 assembly polls as well. And we are doing well with this arrangement. The party leadership has decided to strengthen this partnership with the interest of Nagaland at the core of their decision. I would in fact thank JP Nadda ji, Amit Shah ji, Himanta ji, Rio ji, and Nalin Kohli for always putting the interest of Nagaland first and foremost,” said Kikon, downplaying the controversy that erupted after Patton’s remarks.