Dimapur: Naga People’s Front (NPF) president Shurhozelie Liezietsu said the defection of 21 of his party MLAs to the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) on Friday may be a blessing in disguise for his party in the long run. He, however, admitted that their defection is a setback for him for now.

“It is good. We have no regret because this party (NPF) belongs to the people of Nagaland,” Liezietsu told a local TV channel in Kohima on Saturday.

“I am told that a meeting was called. And I am sure, some of them were hijacked. But maybe it is too early for me to talk about it now.”

He said he will wait and watch and will give comments only after a few days.

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Terming the defection of the 21 MLAs, including former NPF Legislature Party leader TR Zeliang, as “not a new development”, Liezietsu they have been making attempts to go away from the party for a year now.

“Sometimes, I think, a year back they made a serious attempt to go away but failed. Then they decided to join the opposition-less People’s Democratic Alliance, which later became United Democratic Alliance (UDA), the government. That also they had done on their own without consulting the party.

“Yet, we had endorsed their move as we cannot afford to create problems,” he said.

The octogenarian NPF chief, however, added that they were very clearly told that joining the opposition-less government is only for “political reason” and that they will not ask for or accept any position in the government.

But one MLA was accommodated as a cabinet minister and the leader of the NPF legislature group was made the UDA chairman but the party remained silent, he said.

“Then again they tried to find fault with the president (him) but failed. Now, suddenly they have decided to join the NDPP,” he stated.

He also made it clear that whoever is a member of NPF must be very clear in his mind why he is a member of this party.

“This is the only party representing the Naga people. We are here to defend the regional interest. That does not we are against any national party. We are only to protect our culture, our identity and our faith.

According to Liezietsu, the exit of the 21 MLAs from the NPF will create confusion equally in the NDPP and BJP. Their joining the NDPP yesterday must have created a lot of confusion in both the camps, he said.

 “No one knows how long their honeymoon will last. So we have to wait and watch,” he said.

He also termed them joining the NDPP as defection, not a merger, as stated by Speaker Sharingain Longkumer in his order yesterday. He asked how can they merge with any other political party without their party.

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On the four MLAs, including his son, who are still with the NPF, Liezietsu said he will treat them as political heroes. 

He was also hopeful that many new faces will join his party in the near future.

Meanwhile, Liezietsu on Saturday appointed MLAs Kuzholutuo Nienu as the leader of the NPF Legislature Party and Dr Nganshi K Ao as the chief whip of the NPF Legislature Party in the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly.

Bhadra Gogoi

Bhadra Gogoi is Northeast Now Correspondent in Nagaland. He can be reached at: bhadragogoi@yahoo.com