DIMAPUR, May 4 - The Opposition Naga People�s Front (NPF) in Nagaland is facing a grave crisis with seven of its Assembly unit presidents �unanimously� announcing their decision to resign from the party to join the ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) today.
The rift had already come to the fore after seven NPF MLAs decided to support NDPP candidate Tokheho Yepthomi in the April 11 election to the lone Lok Sabha seat in the State against the party�s decision to support the Congress candidate, KL Chishi.
Resignation of the seven Assembly unit presidents follows suspension of the seven MLAs and filing of a petition before the Assembly Speaker on April 24 calling for their disqualification, by the NPF leadership for openly defying the party�s collective decision in the recently concluded Parliamentary election. The Speaker is expected to take a decision in the next four months in keeping with a Supreme Court ruling.
The seven Assembly constituency presidents, in a release on Saturday, alleged that the NPF leadership had become dictatorial and that views and opinions of the masses have been neglected by the party high command.
They said the NPF has given up regional ideology and betrayed the public trust. They maintained that the suspension of the seven MLAs �against all norms� was a clear case of high command rule and disconnect with the masses.
They claimed that the seven suspended MLAs had supported and upheld the regional spirit, and added that the remaining NPF MLAs and all party leaders had openly campaigned for and voted for the Congress. Ironically, the seven MLAs who supported the regional principle were suspended and even their disqualification from the Assembly was being sought now, they rued. The seven Assembly unit presidents also pointed out that the NPF had been an ally of the BJP for decades and still continues to partner the party in Manipur.
On May 1, eight central office-bearers of the party openly challenged the party�s decision to suspend and file a disqualification petition against the seven MLAs. They appealed to the NPF leadership to revoke the suspension order of the seven MLAs and also withdraw the disqualification petition filed against them.
The NPF high command issued a show-cause notice to them the following day for questioning the decision of the party to suspend the seven �erring MLAs�. The party asked the eight office-bearers to show cause as to why disciplinary action should not be initiated against them for openly questioning and challenging the decision of the party which, it said, is total breach of party discipline. They had been asked to submit their reply within seven days.
The NPF had won 26 seats in the 60-member Nagaland House in the 2018 Assembly elections. If the seven of its MLAs are disqualified by the Speaker, the party strength in the Assembly will be reduced to 19. The NDPP-BJP combine won 30 seats in the last Assembly election and formed the Government with the support of two National People�s Party and one JD (U) MLAs and an Independent candidate.