Ten Mizo National Front (MNF) legislators, led by party vice president Vanlalzawma, filed a complaint with Assembly Speaker Lalrinliana Sailo on Tuesday asking him to disqualify independent MLA and Zo People’s Movement Legislature Party leader Lalduhoma for allegedly violating the constitution of the country.
In their complaint letters, the MNF legislators alleged that Lalduhoma, who was elected on an independent ticket in the last assembly polls held in November last year, has breached para 2 (2) of the 10th schedule of the Indian constitution by allegedly joining a newly floated Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) party.
Section 2 (2) of 10 schedules of the constitution stated that an elected member of a house who has been elected as such otherwise than as a candidate set up by any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of the house if he joins any political party after such election.
“Lalduhoma has indulged in ZPM party activities and his actions have clearly manifested that he has joined the ZPM, which contravenes para 2 (2) of 10th schedule of the Indian constitution deeming him to be disqualified as a member of state legislative assembly,” the letters said.
The letters alleged that Lalduhoma, apart from publicly announcing the merger of his party into ZPM, visited the ZPM office and inducted new members into the party at a function held at the party office in Aizawl and other places recently.
Vanlalzawma said that similar complaints were submitted by 10 MLAs, including state health and family welfare board vice chairman ZR Thiamsanga and 8 of them met the speaker on Tuesday.
“The speaker promised us to take up the matter and consult experts on the case,” he said.
On the question of 6 others Zo People’s Movement Legislature Party members, Vanlalzawma said they will file complaints against them once they have concrete evidence substantiating their joining of the ZPM party.
The MNF in a statement also said that MLA Jagjit Singh of Haryana, who was elected on the independent candidate, was disqualified from the state legislature for joining Congress, in the case similar to Lalduhoma’s.
The Supreme Court ruling also stated that a member could be disqualified if his actions show his intimacy or joining of another political party even though he does not give membership fee or registered as a member of such party, the statement added.
Lalduhoma contested the 2018 assembly polls as independent but with support from ZPM, which was then a 7-party alliance.
The ZPM was registered as a political party after the assembly polls in July 2019.
Lalduhoma won two seats- Serchhip and Aizawl West-I but later vacated the latter to retain the former.
Meanwhile, Lalduhoma said that he did not defect to other party and neither breached the Anti Defection law nor violated the constitution.
“I do not know how the speaker will make a decision. If I were disqualified our party leadership may wish to challenge it in a court,” the 71-year-old leader said.
He said that he should not be weighed on the same scale with Jagjit Singh nor should he be charged under section 2(2) of 10th schedule of the constitution, which clearly implies defection by those members elected as independent, who have no support or sponsorship of any political party at the time of the election.
He said that ZPM was formed in 2017 by several parties, including ZNP, a party he headed.
ZPM had contested 39 seats out of 40 assembly constituencies in the last assembly polls in 2018 as independent because the party had not obtained registration from the Election Commission before the polls.
The alliance (now party) won 8 seats with Lalduhoma winning two.
“We were declared official candidates of the ZPM. All the 39 candidates expressed allegiance and paid a membership fee to the party. But we have to fight as independent candidates because we were yet to receive party registration from the ECI at that time,” he said, claiming that he was maintaining his allegiance to the ZPM since its formation and even before his election to the legislature.
“The party did not spill nor do I defected to another party,” he said.
The IPS officer turned politician also said that when the former rebel group Mizo National Front (MNF) contested as independent and swept the 1987 assembly polls, it formed MNF legislature party without being registered as a political party.
Former Mizoram chief minister T. Sailo led Mizoram Janata Dal had also won 8 seats in 1993 assembly polls as an independent.
“In both the cases (MNF and Mizoram Janata Dal), no one raise issue against them,” he added.