DAN stakes claim to form govt., Congress still hopeful

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Kohima, Mar 9 (UNI) The NPF led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland today elected former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio as their leader and staked claim to form the next government, even as the Congress still nursed hopes of ruling the state.

The Nagaland Peoples Front led-DAN paraded 34 newly elected MLAs before Governor K.Sankaranarayanan.

''I have a majority of 34 elected members for the 11th Nagaland Legislative Assembly and am confident of forming the government,'' Mr Rio told newspersons after coming out of the Raj Bhavan where he staked his claim to form the government.

He said besides 26 elected members of the Nagaland Peoples Front (which he leads), two each from BJP and NCP and four Independents were supporting the DAN to form the next government.

NPF's rival Congress bagged 23 seats and two more seats went to Independents in the 60-member Assembly, election to which was held on March 5. Result of one seat is yet to be declared.

''The Governor informed us about some formalities, specially revocation of President's Rule and some others, which should be completed,'' Mr Rio said.

He said after completing the formalities, the Governor would invite him to form the government by March 11.

The two newly-elected NCP members, who were also present during the interaction with newspersons, said they had already given their commitment to DAN and brought out the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), as per which they could not back out of the commitment. They promised to extended their support to DAN.

The four Independent members, who were also present at the Raj Bhavan, told newspersons they had extended unconditional support to DAN and assured to continue to work for the people only with DAN.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party leader I Imkong told mediapersons that the party was hopeful of forming the government and negotiations were on with other parties.

Mr Imkong informed that the election of the party leader in the state will be held tomorrow after AICC observers Margaret Alva and Siddharth Patel's arrival here.

He alleged that money and muscle power dominated the March five elections with rampant booth capturing and rigging in many seats.

He also alleged that in Tuli constituency under Mokokchung district, a polling station had about 400 voters, but counting went up to 600, whereas in Arkakong there were about 2900 votes with 99 per cent turnout, but during counting there were only 1800 ballots.

''We will take up these issues with the Election Commission of India and hope the results of some constituencies are likely to be countermanded,'' he added.

EDS:- Here pick up suitably from earlier series.

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