GUWAHATI: Disqualification petitions, filed against seven MLAs of opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) by the party leadership in Nagaland, were dismissed by Assembly Speaker Sharingain Longkumer on Tuesday.
After the “final hearing”, the Speaker said there were no sufficient grounds to presume that the MLAs in question had voluntarily given up the membership of their original party, NPF.
The NPF had filed the petitions against the legislators last year for “wilfully” defying its collective decision to support Congress nominee KL Chishi in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The seven MLAs had supported Tokheho Yepthomi of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party. He was the consensus candidate of ruling People’s Democratic Alliance, of which the BJP is a constituent. The NPF had said their act was tantamount to voluntarily giving up the party’s membership.
Ahead of the polls, the seven lawmakers had issued a “declaration” asserting that they would support the PDA candidate. They were miffed that the NPF did not field its candidate. They said the party’s decision to support the Congress candidate was against the principle of regionalism.
In the wake of the rebellion, the NPF had served show-cause notices on them and later, suspended them from the party’s primary as well as active membership.
Demand for Ouster of State BJP Chief
Most of the BJP’s 12 legislators, including Ministers, are camping in New Delhi seeking the removal of party’s state unit president Temjen Imna Along Longkumer, who is also a Minister.
The legislators, besides the presidents of 10 district units, had earlier written to the party’s Central leadership seeking Longkumer’s removal. They were livid with his alleged “autocratic” and “dictatorial” style of functioning.
A BJP leader in the state told this newspaper that the BJP legislators had met party president JP Nadda on Monday and discussed the issue of Longkumer’s removal.
“They are also insisting on one man, one post. Longkumer is a Minister holding portfolios of three departments and also the party’s state president. Given the manner in which he is running the party, most BJP workers are unhappy and they want him to go as the party chief,” the BJP leader said.