The Nagaland assembly now has no Opposition. Speaker Chotisuh Sazo has issued a notification formally recognising that all eight legislatures of Congress have joined the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), thus leaving the Opposition with no MLAs.
Tuesday’s development comes after months of rebellions and defections in Congress and NPF.
With CM T R Zeliang managing to set his house right and putting an end to internal bickering, the Assembly now has 46 MLAs from NPF, four from BJP, one from JD(U), one from NCP and eight Independents. All 60 MLAs are part of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) led by the NPF.
Zeliang welcomed the development, saying efforts to form an opposition-less government in the state have finally become a reality, both “de-facto and de-jure”.
The eight Congress legislators who are now members of the NPF are SI Jamir, Tokheho Yepthomi, S Hukavi Zhimomi, Imtiwapang Aier, Imtikumzuk, Eshak Konyak, Khekaho Assumi and C Apok Jamir.
The state Congress unit has described the Speaker’s decision allowing its rebel MLAs to join the NPF as “daylight robbery.” State party president K Therie said in Kohima that the Speaker had not notified the party about its eight MLAs defecting to another party.
“The Speaker has arm-twisted anti-defection laws to dismiss the disqualification petition filed against eight Congress MLAs who violated party directives. The dismissal of the petition has disregarded the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 2003, and the Speaker has demeaned the constitutional office he holds,” Therie said in a statement.
Zeliang, on his part, hailed the Speaker’s decision and said an opposition-less government would strengthen the ongoing Naga peace process.