Thirty-one MLAs from Nagaland met President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday seeking Central rule in the state. They protested against the Speaker who refused to count the votes of seven rebel ruling legislators, enabling the Nagaland People’s Forum-led Democratic Alliance to survive.
Led by Congress Legislature Party leader, I Imkong, they accused the Speaker of being partisan for not admitting the votes of the seven NPF MLAs, who defied the party whip and voted against the government. Three Independents, previously NPF supporters, were barred from voting.
The development caused a leading Rajya Sabha member to write to the President and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi cautioning them against a Cabinet proposal to impose Central rule. The Speaker had only followed the anti-defection law that bars counting the vote of any member who disobeys the whip, he said.
Rashtrapati Bhavan sources said the member told Patil in his letter that “I understand this matter will be discussed by the Cabinet tomorrow. I hope and pray that they will not succumb to the temptation of doing a serious political wrong.”
In his letter to Sonia, with a copy sent to Patil, the member said: “invoking Article 356 under the circumstances will be a malafide and an illegal exercise of the constitutional powers of the Central government. Apart from this, such an action will only bring disgrace to the Congress party throughout the country.”
Imkong said the MLAs told Patil of the “unconstitutional acts” of the Speaker in “allowing the state government to remain in power despite loosing a no-confidence motion”.
The MLAs earlier met Home Minister Shivraj Patil. “We were forced to come here as no action has been taken by the Centre to dislodge the unconstitutionally run Rio government to ensure free and fair assembly elections.”