Interesting to note the shift. So from the call to boycott the Nagaland State Assembly election under the slogan ‘Solution not Election,’ today the fight seems poised to be between the NPF on one side and the NDPP and BJP on the other. The Congress is just a pale shadow of its former self and other notable players in the electoral ring is definitely the NPP, which is already supping with the BJP in the coalition Government in Manipur. Early days yet, but what is interesting to note is the significant presence of the NPF and the newly floated NDPP with former Chief Minister Nephiu Rio projected as the face of the NDPP-BJP combine. One already tested and the other yet to be tested, but significant to note that the two are regional political parties, born in Nagaland and seeking to thrive on its soil after the election. The NDPP-BJP pre-poll tie up is also reflective of the approach adopted by the BJP, which is to reach out to regional parties which can help its presence grow. With the people of Nagaland being predominantly Christians, the BJP would have found it difficult to find their moorings on its own, as there will not be many takers for the RSS brand of Hinduism there and hence the tie up with the NDPP. Earlier it was the NPF which it went along with and during the period of wedlock with the NPF, the BJP managed to make its presence felt, so much so that the NDPP was ready to give them 20 seats in the 60 member Assembly of Nagaland. Regional political parties making their presence felt and this is something which the Manipur People’s Party, one of the oldest regional political parties in the North East can learn a lesson or two from.
And when one talks about regional political parties, one cannot help but ask why and what went wrong with the MPP. Time for the leadership of the MPP to seriously look inwards and study why they are no longer considered as a political force. Forget the Assembly, how many of its candidates romped home in the local body elections held some time back ? As pointed out repeatedly many times in this column, it was not always like this as the MPP was at one of time the biggest challenger to the Congress, before the saffron party was even heard of here. Apart from giving some illustrious political leaders such as the late Md Alimuddin and other stalwarts such as O Joy, the MPP was also able to send its man to the Lok Sabha when the late Yumnam Yaima was elected from the Inner Parliamentary Constituency many years back. From being the party which posed the biggest challenge to the Congress, the MPP is today a pathetic caricature of its past and today when one talks about the oldest regional political party in the State, its only hallmark is the prime location of its office headquarters located just behind Mapal Kangjeibung. This is the state of the party today and view its present status with the regional parties in neighbouring Nagaland and all that can go wrong with the party has gone wrong. Corrective measures can always be taken up, but the bigger question at the moment is, is there anyone who can do something meaningful for the party ?

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