Amid heightened political activity in Nagaland following a call for deferment of the Assembly polls, 10 MLAs of the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) have resigned from the party and the House, an official note said today.
Assembly polls in the restive state are slated for February 27.
The resignations were submitted yesterday, the day 11 political parties, including the NPF, its ally BJP and the Congress signed a joint declaration not to contest the elections, bowing to the demand of tribal bodies and civil society groups that the protracted Naga political problem be resolved first.
"We have resigned in view of the resolution passed by the Nagaland Assembly on December 15 last year urging the Government of India to resolve the Naga political issue before the elections, and in support of the people's desire for solution before election," they said.
They said an agreement was also reached between civil societies, apex tribal organisations and political parties in Nagaland yesterday to seek deferment of the elections.
The MLAs who put in their papers are Noke Wangnao, Tokheho Yeptho, Pangnyu Phom, Neikiesalie Nicky Kire, Zhaleo Rio, C M Chang, Deo Nukhu, Pohwang Konyak, Namri Nchang and Neiba Kronu.
With their resignation altogether 13 MLAs - 12 of the NPF and one independent-- have resigned from the Assembly. Out of the 13 who resigned two have joined the BJP.
Neiba Kronu told PTI that the MLAs have also submitted their resignations to NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu.
Asked about their joining another party, he said, "We are for the common call of the Naga people for 'solution before election', and we will decide on the party affiliation only if election is to be held."
The 10 MLAs who resigned have been seen actively participating in the official engagements of the newly formed Nationalist Democratic Peoples Party, which has declared Lok Sabha MP and fromer chief minister Neiphiu Rio as its chief ministerial candidate.
Earlier in the day, the BJP did a U-turn, backing out of the joint declaration saying it was up to the party's central leadership to take a call on the issue.
The BJP also suspended its state executive council member Kheto Semaparty, who had signed the joint declaration.
The NPF is now left with 35 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly, while the BJP has four. There are seven independent MLAs, while 14 seats are now vacant.
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