Ides of March

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 4/21/2019 11:31:55 AM IST

 A serious crisis looms large over the Naga People’s Front (NPF) party which is plagued by rebellion within its ranks when seven NPF legislators defied the party and pledged support to the rival candidate of the ruling PDA. Worse was in store for the NPF when its candidate for the by-election to the 26 Aonglenden assembly constituency also withdrew from the contest and pledged support to the rival candidate of the PDA coalition. Of course, for the NPF the rebellion by its seven MLAs will be politically most damaging. What happens next to the seven NPF legislators who have been suspended from the membership of the party, will be known perhaps after the Lok Sabha election results are declared and which could shed further light on their fates. NPF president Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsü suspended all the seven MLAs after recommendation from the party Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC).The seven legislators represent constituencies spread out in Mon, Longleng and Tuensang districts. Their joint statement in March 24 in which, they announced support for the ruling PDA coalition candidate for the lone Lok Sabha seat from the state was undoubtedly an open defiance against their party, which had decided to back the Congress candidate for the Lok Sabha seat. The NPF also had to face another major embarrassment a few days later when on March 28, the party candidate for the by-election to the 26 Aonglenden assembly, withdrew from the contest and backed the NDPP candidate. Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsü, in his suspension order stated that the suspended MLAs will still be bound by the whip while voting in the house and claimed judgement of the Supreme Court in support of the rider. That means that the MLAs cannot vote against the party whip since they are not expelled from the party and cannot be given the status of independents. It is a downslide of fortune for the NPF which had won 26 seats as the single largest party in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly after the February 2018 assembly election. With seven MLAs placed under suspension, the party will now be reduced to 19 in a house of 59 (with result of a by-election still awaited.) In its around seventeen years of existence, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) has exhibited a series of divergence / dissidence/rebellion within under the plea of leadership issue. Though the party won the highest number of seats-26 to be the single largest party as against the ruling NDPP’s 17; yet it (NPF) failed to form an alliance and so had to sit in the opposition. The NPF had experienced at least five dissidences within the party since 2005 till 2017-18. The twisting fortunes of the NPF have been triggered by the rivalry between three of its leaders who all occupied the seat of the chief minister one time or the other. As a regional party the NPF was a natural ally of the non-Congress governments at the Centre. After BJP came to power in 2014 the NPF-led DAN coalition comprising of BJP, got the big boost. The break between NPF and BJP was over the NPF party president’s stand over communalism. If the Lok Sabha election results go the other way, then the shadows of uncertainty would be lifted from the NPF but it would be a worst-case scenario if the BJP returns to power at the Centre. The Damocles sword hanging over the seven NPF legislators will have to await the verdict.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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