In a fresh twist in poll-bound Nagaland, the BJP today backed out of a joint declaration, signed by all parties in the state for not contesting the February 27 Assembly polls, saying it was up to the party's central leadership to take a call on the issue.
The BJP also suspended its state executive council member Kheto Semaparty, who had signed the joint declaration yesterday.
Representatives of 11 political parties, including the Naga People's Front, the BJP and the Congress, had yesterday decided not to contest the assembly elections, agreeing to the demand of tribal bodies and civil society groups to resolve the the protracted Naga political problem first.
State BJP chief Visasolie Lhoungu told PTI that he had entrusted Kheto to attend the meeting but had not authorised him to sign the joint declaration.
"We had authorised two party leaders to attend the meeting but had also said that if there is anything regarding the elections, the party's national leaders should be consulted," he said.
"Since Kheto had signed the documents without any consultation with the central leaders, he has been put under suspension," Lhoungu said.
He, however, said the BJP favours an early settlement to the Naga political problem but the Assembly election is a different issue and the state unit of the party is awaiting directions from the central leadership in this regard.
Asked if the BJP accepts the common call for 'solution not election', Lhoungu said, "The final decision on the matter will be taken only after BJP central leaders hold discussions with the core committee of Naga tribal organisations and also the Naga nationalist political groups."
The discussions will take place soon and the filing of nominations will depend on the outcome of the meeting, he said.
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju, the BJP's election in-charge of Nagaland, along with BJP national secretary in-charge of North East Ram Madhav, who were here yesterday, held discussions on pre-poll alliance as well as seat sharing for the ensuing elections, state party sources said.
The BJP's media cell convener K James Vizo confirmed that the two leaders were here to discuss the status of pre-poll alliance and also seat sharing for the February 27 elections.
Vizo said Rijiju and Madhav held meeting with Chief Minister T R Zeliang and NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu over pre-poll alliance and also deliberated on seat sharing.