Dimapur: In an interesting development in Nagaland politics ahead of the state Assembly elections due early next year, 21 MLAs of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) led by NPF Legislature Party leader TR Zeliang, out of 25, have decided to join the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP).
The strength of the NDPP has gone up to 42 in the 60-member house after the joining of the 21 NPF MLAs.
Nagaland Assembly speaker Sharingain Lokngkumer, in an order, said he had received the claim of merger of 21 members of the NPF Legislature Party with the NDPP on Friday.
The 21 NPF legislators who have decided to join the NDPP are NPF Legislature Party leader TR Zeliang, Moatoshi Longkumer, Azheto Zhimomi, Keniezhakho Nakhro, Y Vikheho Swu, Chotisuh Sazo, Yitachu, Amenba Yaden, Dr Imtiwapang Aier, Imkong L Imchen, Er. Picto Shohe, Dr Chumben Murry , YM Yollow, CL John, N Thongwang Konyak, Eshak Konyak, EE Pangteang, BS Ngalang Phom, Muthingnyuba Sangtam, Toyang Chang and Kejong Chang.
The development comes a day after NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu declared in Phek district on Thursday that his party will go it alone in the 2023 Assembly election. He said the NPF will contest the forthcoming election on its own though it is an alliance partner of the all-party opposition-less United Democratic Alliance (UDA) government in the state.
Liezietsu also reportedly said though the NPF MLAs were working together with the all-party government that does not mean that the parties have come together.
Speaker Lokngkumer, in the order issued under Para 4(2) of the Tenth Schedule read with the Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (Disqualification of Ground of Defection) Rules, 2019, said these 21 members belonging to the NPF, led by Zeliang, have in their individual letters as well as in the common resolution they adopted stated that they have merged with the NDPP on April 29.
He said they also made requests to him to carry out the necessary changes in the relevant records as per the rules.
Longkumer also a letter dated April 29 has also been received from the NDPP president Chingwang Konyak accepting the merger of the 21 NPF MLAs.
“The above 21 members have also presented themselves before me today, 29.04.2022.,” the speaker said.
Considering the circumstances, Longkumer said he has directed Nagaland Legislative Assembly commissioner and secretary to publish the revised summary of information as per the rules and correct the party affiliation of these 21 members of the Assembly in the relevant records.
“Any petition under paragraph 6 of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India, if preferred against any of the aforementioned members, the same shall be considered separately as per procedure,” the speaker said in the order.
The UDA was formed in July last year after the Opposition NPF joined the Neiphiu Rio-led government. In the opposition-less UDA government, before the merger of 21 NPF MLAs, the NDPP had 21 members, BJP 12 and two Independents. The NDPP, BJP and two Independents were running the government under the banner of the People’s Democratic Alliance before the NPF joined it.