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Nagaland NCP mulls legal action

Kohima, July 30: The NCP’s Nagaland unit today said the party would move court if Speaker Chotisuh Sazo’s decision on defection of three party legislators to the BJP goes against it.

Three NCP legislators — T.M. Lotha, Imtilemba Sangtam and Mhonlumo Kikon — had claimed on June 17 that they had merged with the BJP. The fourth NCP legislator in the state, L. Khumo, refused to join his comrades.

The NCP high command had rejected their claim and demanded their disqualification from the House. NCP national president Sharad Pawar has written to the Speaker, saying there was no question of the state unit merging with the BJP.

Former NCP state unit president Povotso Lohe said if Sazo’s decision did not go in their favour, the party would file a case in the Supreme Court. “We are ready to file a case in the court,” he said.

The BJP, however, claims that the NCP members’ action was legal and valid. It said the Constitution guarantees under the Tenth Schedule the merger of two-third legislators with another party. The BJP has also threatened to take the case to court if the Speaker’s decision is not in their favour.

The Speaker is yet to take a decision on whether the NCP legislators’ move is valid or violates the anti-defection bill since the NCP still exists in the state and at the national level. He had served a 20-day showcase notice to the three MLAs, which expires on August 4. He is consulting constitutional experts at present and is expected to take a decision in the first week of August.