In a major political development ahead of next year's Assembly polls in Nagaland, 21 of the 25 MLAs of the Naga People's Front (NPF) on Friday joined Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
With the joining of the 21 NPF legislators, the strength of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio-led NDPP has gone up to 42 in the 60-member Assembly. The NPF is left with four MLAs, the BJP has 12 while there are two Independent members.
The development comes after the party President Shurhozelie Liezietsu on Thursday announced that the party would contest the early next year's Assembly election on its own.
Nagaland Assembly speaker Sharingain Lokngkumer in an order said that he has received the claim of merger of 21 members of the NPF Legislature Party with the NDPP.
The NPF had joined the ruling People's Democratic Alliance comprising the NDPP and the BJP in August last year to form the United Democratic Alliance (UDA), an opposition-less government in the state with the object of pushing the Naga political issue forward.
Government spokesperson Neiba Kronu said that despite the fresh development, the UDA will continue to function.
"As political leaders, it is up to the legislators to join another party," he said, adding that the four remaining NPF legislators continue to be in the UDA.