NPF to move HC against Speaker”s order on seven rebel MLAs

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The opposition Naga Peoples Front (NPF) on Wednesday described as “arbitrary” the order of Nagaland Legislative Assembly Speaker dismissing the party”s disqualification petition against its seven rebel MLAs and said it will move the high court.
The decision to this effect was taken at the NPF Legislature Party meeting here, Opposition leader and former chief minister T R Zeliang reporters.

Speaker Sharingain Longkumer had on Tuesday dismissed the disqualification petition filed by the NPF against its seven MLAs saying, they are not liable to be disqualified under the Tenth Schedule, which deals with defection.

“He (Speaker) delivered the judgment ”arbitrarily”… justice has not been delivered,” Zeliang said.

The NPF has decided to go to the court against the Speaker”s judgment after taking consent of party President Shrhozelie Liezietsu, he said.

The seven rebel legislators were not invited for the meeting.

The NPF had sought annulment of their membership for going against the party decision and supporting the ruling coalition in the election for the lone Lok Sabha seat from the state last year.

It had also accused them of voluntarily giving up membership of the party, a contention which did not find favour with the Speaker.

The MLAs against whom the party had filed the petition are- E E Pangteang, Eshak Konyak, Kejong Chang, B S Nganlang Phom, Toyang Changkong Chang, N Thongwang Konyak and C John.

The ruling Peoples Democratic Alliance had won the Lok Sabha poll.

The NPF, which is the only opposition party in the Assembly, has a total of 25 MLAs, including the seven rebel legislators. The House strength at present is 58 due to the death of two members.

The PDA comprising of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), BJP and an Independent has a combined strength of 33 in the assembly.

Asked about the June 16 letter from Governor R N Ravi to Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio on the “perilous law and order situation in the state”, Zeliang said that the the matter is between the two and it is the duty of the government of the day to minutely discuss and reply to every point raised in the Governor”s letter.

“If the government fails to give a befitting reply, the people will suffer due to lack of governance,” he said while adding that there is a vast difference “between government and governance”.

Meanwhile, Zeliang welcomed the reported Naga political talks held between Ravi, who is also the interlocutor, and Working Committee of the seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) in Dimapur on Tuesday.

“Due to the pandemic everything was put on hold and there was no progress in the talks, but we are glad to see that the interlocutor called the working committee of the NNPGs and had a deliberation while resuming the talks,” he said, adding that the party is not aware of what was discussed at the meeting.

“But it (resumption of talks) is a good sign and a good approach,” he remarked, adding that the process should also resume with NSCN (IM).

He said the October 31, 2019 dialogue with NSCN(IM) and NNPGs was reported to have concluded successfully and people were expecting that a solution would soon be achieved and it would be a reality.

“But it has been dragging on and people are now at a loss as to what happened to the claims of successful conclusion of the talks by the interlocutor and the Naga negotiating groups, and where is the result,” said Zeliang.

However, he expressed the hope that the resumption of talks would bring the final result very soon.

“The approach was appreciable and a good step forward after a long time,” he said.

On the encounters between security forces and Naga national groups, Zeliang said,”We always condemn the killing and encounters between the security forces and the Naga groups but despite having the ceasefire agreement such incidents have been happening in the past too”.

“It is very unfortunate,” he lamented while appealing to both sides to maintain the ground rules of the ceasefire agreement.

“Such incidents should be condemned by one and all,” said the opposition leader.

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