Ten legislators of the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) have resigned as members of the Nagaland Assembly in view of the growing demand from civil society groups to defer the February 27 Assembly polls, one of them said on Tuesday.
Those who quit are former Parliamentary Affairs Minister Tokheho Yepthomi, former Roads and Bridges Minister Neikiesalie Nicky Kire, former Environment Minister Neiba Kronu, S. Pangnyu Phom, Zhaleo Rio, Deo Nukhu, C.M. Chang, Pohwang Konyak, Namri Nchang and Neiba Kronu.
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"We have resigned as members of the Assembly as well as from the primary membership of the NPF in response to the public call for 'Solution before Election' to pave the way for an early solution to the protracted Naga political (insurgency) problem," Yepthomi told IANS.
"Last month, the Nagaland Assembly adopted a resolution urging the government of India to take emergent and extraordinary steps for an 'honourable and acceptable solution' to the Naga political issue before the elections. We are hopeful that the Indian government will respect the sentiments of the Naga people," the NPF legislator said.
Speaker Imtiwapang Aier has accepted the resignation of the 10 legislators. With this, the strength of the 60-member Nagaland Assembly has been reduced to 46.
Earlier this month, former Home Minister Yanthungo Patton of the NPF and former Independent legislator Jacob Zhimomi joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) while Vikho-o Yhoshu, who is also from the NPF, joined the newly floated Nagaland Democratic Progressive Party.
The number of the ruling NPF legislators has been reduced to 35 from 47 while the Independents has been reduced to seven.
Eleven political parties, including the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) and the BJP, on Monday issued a joint declaration not to issue party ticket or file nominations for the polls in response to the call by tribal Naga groups for 'Solution before Election'.
However, Nagaland BJP President Visasolie Lhongu said the party state unit will "abide by the directives of the party High Command on the assembly elections".