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Axe over NCP trio

Kohima, June 19: The three legislators of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) who joined the BJP recently may face disqualification from the Nagaland Assembly, but the BJP has strongly come out defending its new members.

Speaker Chotisuh Sazo is studying the legal aspects of the recent political development.

An Assembly source hinted that the three MLAs could face disqualification as the NCP and the BJP are still different political parties at the national level and there is no question of a merger.

The BJP state unit president, N. Chuba Ao, strongly defended the three new entrants adding that what the three former NCP members had done was legally right. “Their action was legally correct.”

Ao claimed that the three MLAs — T.M. Lotha, Imtilemba Sangtam and Mhonlumo Kikon — are now bona fide members of the BJP. He said the party would study the legal aspects, but added that there was no question of their disqualification as what they had done was legally correct.

The three members have been also suspended from the party by the NCP high command. On June 16, the three claimed that they had merged with the BJP along with their supporters.

In the 2013 Assembly elections, the NCP won four seats. The party is also part of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) but the Naga People’s Front (NPF), the main constituent which has 37 members in the House of 60, said the three former NCP legislators had taken a wrong course which would cost them their membership in the Assembly.

The three MLAs today held a closed-door meeting with legal experts. In the past couple of days, several Naga politicians have joined the BJP and the party office here said they would soon carry out a membership drive across the state.