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NPF suspends 7 MLAs in Nagaland who voted for ruling party candidate

The seven MLAs of teh opposition Naga People’s Front had voted for the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party’s sitting MP Tokheho Yepthomi.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 16, 2019 18:01 IST
Utpal Parashar
Utpal Parashar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Lok Sabha elections 2019,General elections 2019,Election news
Seven rebel MLAs of the NPF with Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio (third from right) and NDPP MP Tokheho Yepthomi (third from left) in Kohima on March 25.(HT PHOTO)

Opposition Naga People’s Front on Tuesday suspended seven of its sitting MLAs in Nagaland for voting in favour of the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) candidate to the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state.

Accusing the legislators of indulging in anti-party activities, NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu suspended them from “primary and active membership of NPF” with immediate effect.

“However, you will be bound by the whip of NPF on the floor of the Nagaland assembly as per the existing law and judicial decisions of the honourable apex court (Supreme Court),” the order stated.

The seven MLAs are Kejong Chang, EE Pangteang, Eshak Konyak, CL John, BS Nganlang, Toyang Chang and NT Konyak. Last month, these seven MLAs had extended support to the NDPP-led government in the state.

Prior to Tuesday’s move, NPF, with 26 MLAs, was the largest party in the 60-member Nagaland assembly.

The NDPP, which secured 18 seats, and Bharatiya Janata Party, which got 12, after last year’s assembly polls, were able to form the government with support of smaller parties.

Despite being the largest party, NPF had not fielded anyone in the election to the lone LS seat in the state (polling for which took place on April 11) and had extended “issue-based” support to Congress candidate KL Chisi.

The NDPP candidate Tokheho Yepthomi, who is the sitting MP, was supported by BJP and other smaller parties.

“The NPF central election office has received a post election report that you have whole heartedly supported and voted in favour of the NDPP candidate in the Lok Sabha election, which is an act of total defiance,” the NPF suspension order stated.

There is speculation that the seven suspended MLAs will resign from the NPF and vacate their seats, making way for bye-elections to the seven seats.

First Published: Apr 16, 2019 18:01 IST