Tuesday, April 13, 2021
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Constitutional crisis imminent over disqualification petition against 7 MLAs


Kohima, April 25: With results of the Lok Sabha elections likely to change the course of politics in Nagaland, there is a visible apprehension among political parties, including the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA).
While Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio is trying to increase the seats of his Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), which has 19 Members in the House of 60, allegedly by poaching, the opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) is trying to axe its 7 rebel MLAs who had supported the NDPP in the recently concluded Lok Sabha election, in an effort to sabotage their further political movement.
The decision of the NPF to file disqualification petition against its 7 lawmakers came after anticipating their resignation from the Assembly and go for by-election as NDPP candidates.
NPF insider said disqualification of the seven MLAs from the Assembly will bar them from contesting the by-elections.
This is an attempt to finish the political career of the rebel MLAs who were hardcore cock members till recently, a source said.
But political pundits say resignation of the seven MLAs will be a big political risk as NPF is still a strong party and that among the seven MLAs, some did not win the last election with comfortable margins.
When contacted, senior NPF leaders said the party is not worried even if the seven MLAs resign. “They can resign or face disqualification,” a senior NPF leader said.
Another senior MLA said the cause of action has taken place and that even if the rebels resign now it will not debar them from disqualification.
“If a thief returns stolen goods, he also cannot escape punishment. Very simple as that,” he added.
NPF source said even if the seven lawmakers are re-elected during the pendency of the disqualification petition then also if they are disqualified they will be disqualified because they are debarred from contesting for certain period of time. Even if elected, they will be disqualified again, the source said.
While the opposition NPF is strong-minded to pursue the matter, more often than not it has been seen that the Speaker’s office is inclined to the Government, and in that case the matter could prolong.
But NPF sources said there is a Supreme Court ruling that Speaker should not keep the matter indefinitely and a period of four months was considered to be a reasonable period to pass a judgment.
Any deliberate violation of the Supreme Court judgment will put the Speaker’s standing in the Court room which no Speaker will like to face,” a senior NPF lawmaker said.
The NPF has also accused the NDPP leadership of trying to poach its members through horse-trading.
The PDA Government has 19 NDPP, 12 BJP and one each of JD(U) and Independent.
While the Speaker can withhold his decision against the seven MLAs for four months, according to NPF, in the meantime the fate of rebel lawmakers hangs in a balance.
The seven rebel cock MLAs are C L John, N. Thongwang Konyak, Eshak Konyak, E E Panteang, B S Nganlang, Toyang Chang and Kejong Chang.
Earlier the MLAs were served with show-cause notice for open rebellion and supporting the ruling Government. (Page News Service)