Dimapur, April 16 (EMN): The opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Tuesday suspended seven of its sitting legislators for voting in favour of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) candidate to the lone Lok Sabha seat during the April 11 elections.
In two separate orders, the NPF supremo, Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu announced the suspension of Kejong Chang, EE Pangteang, Eshak Konyak, CL John, BS Nganglang, Toyang Chang and N Thongwang Konyak from “primary and active membership of NPF” with immediate effect.
“However, you will be bound by the whip of NPF on the floor of the Nagaland assembly as per the existing law and judicial decisions of the honourable apex court (Supreme Court),” the order stated.
Prior to the Lok Sabha polls in Nagaland, those seven legislators had declared their joint decision to support the NDPP candidate while terming the NPF’s support to the Congress candidate as against the “principles of regionalism.” Consequently, they were served with show cause notices by the party.
“…in your reply to the show cause notice, you have reiterated your stand to take side with the political opponent of the NPF in the Lok Sabha election, 2019. This attitude on your part is nothing short of wilfully defying the collective decision of the party to support a particular political party/candidate,” read the order.
According to the NPF, this was “sufficient to infer” that the seven legislators’ decisions and movements were all anti-party activities. “…in your reply, you have demanded to withdraw the show cause notice served upon you rather than expressing your remorse for not being able to adhere to the Party’s collective decision and directive. Such attitude on your part factually demonstrates that you have some hidden agenda to further disintegrate the party which cannot be overlooked,” it read.
The party also stated the rebel legislators had refused to attend a meeting on March 30 in Kohima which “was an opportunity” for the seven to explain their position. “…even after serving show cause notice to you by the party, you continuously associated yourself with the PDA government and the NDPP candidate for the lone Nagaland parliamentary constituency which is a clear proof beyond reasonable doubt that your conduct amounts to voluntarily giving up the membership of the NPF which cannot be condoned,” it stated.
According to the NPF, it has also received a post-election report that the seven rebel legislators have whole-heartedly supported and voted in favour of the NDPP candidate in the Lok Sabha election, “which is an act of total defiance.”
Prior to Tuesday’s development, the NPF, with 26 representatives, was the largest party in the 60-member Nagaland assembly.
The NDPP, which secured 18 seats, and Bharatiya Janata Party, which got 12, after last year’s assembly polls, were able to form the government with support of other parties and independent candidate. Recently, two National People’s Party legislators resigned to merge with the NDPP.
Despite being the largest party, NPF had not fielded anyone in the election to the lone LS seat in the state and had extended “issue-based” support to the Congress candidate KL Chishi.
The NDPP candidate Tokheho Yepthomi, who is the sitting MP, was supported by BJP and other PDA parties.
There is speculation that the seven suspended legislators, all from the eastern districts of Nagaland, could resign from the NPF and vacate their seats, making way for bye-elections to the seven seats.