ECI order puts end to dispute within NPF

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DIMAPUR, JANUARY 9: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has put an end to the dispute inthe Naga People’s Front (NPF), which is a recognized party in Nagaland and Manipur. The ECI, in an order issued by Secretary, Promod Kumar Sharma today, stated that the petition filed by Neiphiu Rio under Paragraph 15 of the Symbols Order be dismissed as the Commission has accepted the request of the petitioner to withdraw his petition pertaining to Naga People’s Front.
The 3-page order available with Nagaland Page said, “Accordingly, the petition filed by Shri Neiphiu Rio is hereby dismissed as withdrawn. TheParty is directed to submit the authenticated list of office bearers of the party including the list of Central Executive Council members.”
The Commission issued the order based on the application dated December 11, 2017 by Rio seeking to withdraw the petition filed by him under Paragraph-15 of the Symbols Order. Rio had resigned as the NPF President “taking into consideration, the evolving political situations of the past few days in the State of Nagaland”.
The ECI also took note of the copy of a communication by Rio addressed to T.R. Zeliang, with a copy endorsed to Dr. Shurhozelie, referring to the latter as NPF President. In the said communication Rio had mentioned about lack of support to him within the party and stated that he was resigning from the post of President of the Party. The Order also mentioned about the application submitted by Dr. Shurhozelie on December 15, 2017 referring to the application of Rio. Also in the said application, Dr. Shurhozelie stated that he was elected as the party President on four occasions in the past, including his election in 2014 and that he continues to be the President of the Party and his present term is up to 2020.
Dr Shurhozelie had also submitted to the ECI that a general convention of active members of the party was convened on November (22-11-2017) as per the provisions of the party constitution in pursuance of the order dated 17-10-17 of the Commission, and his presidentship was reaffirmed by the general convention. Dr. Shurhozelie also filed
affidavits of support to him from 38 MLAs of the party in Nagaland. “Having considered the documents pertaining to the case and the application of Sh. Neiphiu Rio, the petitioner who filed the petition under paragraph 15 of the Symbols Order, the Commission has accepted the request of the petitioner to withdraw his petition pertaining to Naga People’s Front. The Commission has directed that the petition relating to dispute in Naga People’s Front be dismissed as withdrawn”, the ECI order, dated 9th January 2018 stated.
The ECI further directed the NPF to submit the authenticated list of office bearers of the party including the list of Central Executive Council members. It may be mentioned that in the month of August 2017, Neiphiu Rio had filed a petition claiming that Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu was removed from the post of party President and he (Rio) was elected as the Interim President of the NPF by the Legislators of the NPF on July 29, 2017. In his reply to the petition of Neiphiu Rio, Dr Shurhozelie refuted the claim of Rio and submitted that he continued to be the party president.
Considering the contentions of the two sides, the Election Commissioned vide order dated 17th October 2017 directed that the dispute should be settled in terms of Article XIV of the party Constitution which provides that “in case of any dispute arising in the party following a split or merger with any other party, two-third majority of the Active Members present and voting in the General Convention of the Central Paty shall determine the issue.” However, on November 6, 2017 Neiphiu Rio filed an application seeking review of the order dated 17-10-2017 on the ground that his group had already convened a general convention of the active members on September 20, 2017. Separately Rio also filed another petition on November 7, 2017 under Paragraph 15 of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968
seeking a declaration that the group headed by him is the NPF. He had also filed individual affidavits from MLAs of the party and persons stated to be members of the Central Executive Council of the party affirming their support to the group led by him. Meanwhile, on December 11, 2017, Rio submitted an application seeking to withdraw the petition filed by him under Paragraph 15 of the Symbols Order. (Page News Service)