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Nagaland Speaker declares 8 ex-Cong MLAs as NPFLP member

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Kohima: Two days after eight Congress MLAs formally joined the ruling Naga People’s Front, the state Legislative Assembly Speaker Chotisuh Sazo has declared them as members of the NPF Legislature Party.

A statement by the legislative assembly official said the eight MLAs, who are already holding different positions in the government, yesterday presented the claim of merger in the format required under the ‘Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 2003’ along with other supporting documents to the Speaker.

The Speaker accepted the petition of the eight – S I Jamir and seven other Congress MLAs – claiming merger and declared the claimants as members of the NPF Legislature Party, the official statement issued by Legislative Assembly Commissioner and Secretary, N Benjamin Newmai said.

Besides S I Jamir, other seven were – Tokheho Yepthomi, C ApokJamir, S Hukavi Zhimomi, Dr Imtiwapang Aier, Imtikumzuk, Eshak Konyak and Khekaho Assumi.

Newmai’s statement said the Speaker dismissed the counter-petition by K Therie and other Congress legislators seeking disqualification of the eight legislators from the state Assembly on September 4 last.

The Speaker passed the order yesterday, Newmai added.

The eight MLAs had voted in favour of Chief Minister T R Zeliang under the NPF-led DAN government in the February 5 confidence motion in the state Assembly.

In return, Zeliang inducted all of them in his ministry by allocating different positions as Minister, Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Speaker last May.

“The Congress members have merged with the Naga People’s Front (NPF) in accordance with the law laid down by the Gauhati High Court in Writ Appeals Nos. 297 & 298/2014 and thus are protected against disqualification on ground of defection,” a statement issued by NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu said.

The AICC had already suspended the legislators and charged them with “violating” the AICC’s direction to not join the NPF government, headed by Chief Minister TR Zeliang, if the BJP is also a part of the government.

The Congress had previously moved for their disqualification from the state Assembly on September 4.

With the merger of eight Congress MLAs, the strength of NPF in the 60-member Assembly has gone up to 46 while the BJP has four MLAs, one each from NCP and JD(U) and eight Independent MLAs.