Kohima (Nagaland): The Naga People’s Front (NPF) has decided to move court seeking disqualification of 36 NPF legislators in the wake of new chief minister T.R. Zeliang winning the floor test in the assembly and forming government.
The petition will be filed in the Kohima bench of the Gauhati high court on Monday, said NPF legislators supporting former chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu. They announced it during an interaction with a section of mediapersons at the chief minister’s official residence on Sunday night.
MLA Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu said the 10 NPF legislators with Liezietsu had challenged the decision of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) speaker Imtiwapang Aier in recognising Zeliang, an expelled member of NPF, as the whip on 18 and 20 July, before the two assembly sittings were held for the floor test.
Nienu expressed surprise that on both occasions, the speaker did not respond to their letters and also did not cite any reason for not accepting the whip issued by Kiyanilie Peseyie as authorised by NPF president Liezietsu for the sessions.
On the confusion over his appointment as the chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN), Azo said he will continue to be the chairman of DAN as the alliance partners comprising the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Janata Dal (United) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have endorsed him.
“The alliance partners have not withdrawn their support signed on 10 July last, and unless they withdraw I will continue to be the chairman," he said.
MLA Chotisuh Sazo, who is also a former NLA speaker, said during the present crisis the speaker should have accepted the whip issued by NPF party and not the whip issued by NPF Legislature Party.
“NPF is the registered party and recognised by the Election Commission of India while NPF Legislature Party is not a recognised party," he said.
“As per NPF Constitution, Chapter 5 Section 10 clearly mentions that the president of the party is authorised to promulgate ordinance on all its members, including the legislators," Sazo added. He also said that as per the Tenth Schedule Para 2 (1)(b) clearly mentions that a political party is to give direction to its members, whether vote in favour, against or abstain the floor test.
“The NPF party had appointed MLA Kiyanielie as the chief whip in November 2014, which has not been withdrawn by the party nor revoked by the assembly," he said.
“So we have decided to challenge the matter in the court and file the petition," he said.
Sazo said once the judgment is out, the 36 NPF legislators who voted against the NPF whip will be liable of disqualification from the assembly. “Unless condoned by the party within 15 days, they will be disqualified from the assembly," he said.
MLA Yitachu said that many of the legislators supporting Zeliang have been misguided on the entire episode. He also informed that the NPF has taken the matter to the Supreme Court while hearing has been listed for Monday.
Meanwhile, NPF continued suspending its dissident legislators.
Kezong Chang, who had been inducted as a minister in the Zeliang cabinet on Saturday, was Sunday suspended by the NPF party. With his suspension, altogether 11 legislators with Zeliang have been suspended till date while 20 are expelled.
“Kezong Chang, MLA and member of NPF Party ceases to be primary and active member of the party but shall continue to be bound by the whip of the NPF on the floor of NLA as per judicial decision of the apex court," stated a suspension order issued by NPF working president Huska Yepthomi.