The BJP has said that the party's Central leadership has arrived at a consensus with like-minded regional parties in Nagaland to fight the ruling Congress in the state jointly in the February 26 Assembly elections even as the state unit of the party was not so keen on pre-poll alliance and seat adjustment with others.
Emphasising the need for putting up a united front to throw the Congress out of power, BJP national vice-president Pyarelal Khandelwal claimed that the people in the state were fed up with the 10-year "mis-rule" of the S C Jamir government and had been earnestly looking for an alternative in Nagaland.
Khandelwal was in Dimapur yesterday to attend the party's meeting sans the state unit president Dr Rhetso, who recently resigned opposing the Central leaders' decision favouring pre-poll alliance with Nagaland People's Front (NPF), Janata Dal (United) and others.
Playing down the issue of Rhetso's resignation, Khandelwal told newsmen after the meeting that the Opposition received a moral boost after the resignation of Congress ministers and MLAs expressing disillusionment with the activities of their party.
Senior Congress member and MLA from Wokha district T N Ngulie, who resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP yesterday, said, "I am now free from the bondage of the Congress. BJP is the only party where one can express his views freely."
Although none of the parties have so far released their election manifestos nor issued party tickets, the ruling Congress hinted that it would contest all the 60 seats with peace, stability and development as its poll plank.
The NPF on the other hand has been harping on the NPCC publication Bedrock Of Naga Society dubbing the booklet as "total dilution of Naga aspirations".
While the ruling Congress claimed the Naga peace process was actually initiated by the former Prime Minister Narasimha Rao, the BJP has tried to woo Naga voters saying only Vajpayee government expressed genuine concern for the Naga political problem and held the peace dialogues with NSCN (I-M).
Khandelwal said the visit of NSCN (I-M) leaders to Delhi itself was a major achievement in the peace process and the recent talks convinced the Naga people of the genuine concern of the Vajpayee government at the Centre.
Attending a party function at Kohima yesterday, NPF leader and former home minister in Jamir Cabinet, Neiphiu Rio said if voted to power his party would "bridge the gap" in finding a permanent settlement to the Naga political problem.
Claiming that he was opposed to the book Bedrock Of Naga Society from the very beginning, Rio said the coming election would be a referendum on the booklet because the poll would indicate whether the Nagas favour it or reject it.