Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) in Nagaland on Thursday questioned the absence of ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) MP Tokheho Yepthomi when voting on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) took place in Lok Sabha on January 8.
By abstaining from voting on an important issue that could have an impact on the future of the Nagas Yepthomi all lost moral right to represent the Naga people, NPF press bureau said in a release.
The opposition party said the MP had “gambled” with the fate of the Nagas when he should have opposed the bill tooth and nail in the Parliament.
Responding to the accusations in Nagaland that he voted for the controversial bill on January 8, Yepthomi on Tuesday issued a statement saying that he did not vote as he was in Zunheboto in connection with a meeting during that time.
“How can a member of the Lok Sabha who represents the whole Naga populace fail to be in the war-front for his people in the most trying times?” the NPF questioned.
The Opposition party also sought to know what took the MP so long to come out and reveal his stand on the issue. It said the MP is expected to brief and consult the people on crucial matters and be present in the Parliament to fight for the Nagas.
The party said “no amount of justification can undo the damage done”.
“The MP has lost all moral right to represent the Naga people and the state basing on his poor performance and hypocritical role surrounding the Citizenship Bill issue with intention to sell out the future of the Nagas to our adversaries,” the NPF said.
A pressure group that keeps a check on unabated influx of illegal immigrants into the state also criticised the state’s lone Lok Sabha MP for refraining from voting against the bill last month.
The Survival Nagaland also criticised the central government for going ahead with the Citizenship Bill despite protests by the people of Northeast.
Former BJP ST Morcha general secretary Hayithung Bill Lotha said Nagaland state’s lone Lok Sabha MP Yepthomi should resign on moral grounds for abstaining from voting when the bill was passed in the Lower House last month.
“Being an elected member of Parliament, his job is to be in Delhi defending and protecting our rights and working for the people of our state. He should not have escaped from Parliament session when a very important bill was taken up for voting,” Lotha said.
“Abstaining itself is a form of support for the bill,” he said.
While taking a dig at the BJP and Yepthomi, Lotha was all praise for Nagaland’s Opposition leader T.R. Zeliang for his stand on the bill.