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Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton rejects new portfolio as NDPP-BJP gap widens

Indicating that the gap between key alliance partners in Nagaland, the NDPP and the BJP, has widened further, Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister and the saffron party’s

Patton

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 April 2022 3:22 AM GMT

KOHIMA/NEW DELHI: Indicating that the gap between key alliance partners in Nagaland, the NDPP and the BJP, has widened further, Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister and the saffron party's floor leader in the Assembly, Y Patton on Monday snubbed Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and rejected his offer of the additional portfolio of Land Resources.

"With deep sense of regret, it is to inform you that I have to gracefully decline and hereby refuse to accept the new allotment of portfolio to me, that is, the Department of Land Resources, as I stand content working together even without this additional assignment," Patton wrote in a letter to the Chief Minister.

On Saturday, Patton was divested of the portfolio of Roads and Bridges and the same was passed on to Chief Minister Rio's party colleague H Chuba Chang, who is only an advisor and not a minister in the Cabinet.

The words quickly spread that Deputy CM Pattton and a section of BJP leaders were not happy.

NDPP President Chingwang Konyak had maintained that Nalin Kohli, BJP's in-charge for Nagaland who visited the State recently, was taken into confidence by the Chief Minister.

BJP's regional partner believed that the new arrangement had to be accepted by the saffron party as the latter was ensured a Rajya Sabha berth in favour of S Phangnon Konyak.

The BJP leaders, however, say that linking the Rajya Sabha election to portfolio sharing was uncalled for as it was agreed earlier that while NDPP would contest Lok Sabha elections in 2019, the Rajya Sabha berth (in March 2022) would be given to the BJP.

The State BJP leaders have complained to the party high command that in the garb of changing the portfolio, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is now preparing ground for elections where NDPP will either merge with another regional party, NPF, or will contest the polls in alliance.

All these seem part of the game to 'isolate' the BJP, which on its part had earlier this month snapped ties with its regional partners NPF and NPP in Manipur. The regional parties in Nagaland are also nervous that the saffron party would repeat the 'Manipur model' in the State and leave the two regional partners in the lurch at the last moment. However, the State BJP leaders say things are premature and the party is yet to finalize the electoral strategy. In Nagaland, the BJP leaders by and large are happy with Patton's decision to reject the additional portfolio.

"It was a double game employed by Chief Minister Rio. The Department of Land Resources is with another BJP minister, Paiwang Konyak, and so Patton has done the right thing. We cannot take each other's portfolio and allow NDPP to enjoy the larger slice of the cake," a key BJP functionary said. (IANS)

Also Read: Nagaland Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton loses Roads and Bridges portfolio

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