NEW DELHI, Dec 13 � In a major jolt to the ongoing Naga peace talks, the Centre�s interlocutor, RS Pandey, today joined the BJP, leaving the Union Government high and dry.
At least three former top bureaucrats, including ex-Union Home Secretary RK Singh, joined the BJP at a function presided over by BJP president Rajnath Singh. The other two included an administrative officer from the Indian Railway Service, Dharam Singh, and Pandey.
�The BJP is the only option at this crucial stage. And there is a need for change,� Pandey, a Nagaland Cadre officer who retired as the Petroleum Secretary, told newsmen soon after joining the saffron party.
Home Ministry officials, when contacted, said that they are yet to receive Pandey�s resignation letter though they had some inkling. �I think the letter must be on its way. But so far, we have not received it,� confirmed Joint Secretary (North-east) Shambhu Singh.
When asked about the next course of action, the Joint Secretary said that they have to now look for a new interlocutor. The latest round of negotiations with the NSCN (I-M) was held last month at the interlocutor level after a gap of one year.
Pandey was at the centre of a controversy when a purported agreement offering a Supra State to the NSCN (I-M) was leaked by a newspaper. The Centre later clarified it was a concept paper submitted by one of the Naga organisations and not the agreement.
Interestingly, Pandey joined the party on a day when the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Ministry, which is headed by M Venkaihiah Naidu and includes Ramen Deka as one of the members, in its report to the Parliament today, expressed concern over the prevalence of insurgency in the North-east, with the neighbouring countries of the region aiding and abetting ultra groups in the region.