KOHIMA: Sixty nine days after three NCP legislators claimed a split in the party and announced merger with the BJP; their fates were sealed when the speaker of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly Chotisuh Sazo, after taking into consideration all aspects of the matter ordered the disqualification of the three MLAs with effect from August 25, 2014.

It may be recalled that on June 16, three out of the four NCP MLAs-- Imtilemba Sangtam, Dr. T. M Lotha and Mmhonlumo Kikon- had claimed that they had effected a split in their original party, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), after fulfilling the norms of 2/3rd of the legislature to effect a split after which they announced that they have merged with the BJP on the day to the local media.

The fourth NCP legislator Khumo Khiam however chose to remain with the party.

Imtilemba Sangtam was elected from Longkhim Chare A/C; Dr. T.M Lotha from Wokha A/C while Mmhonlumo Kikon was elected from Bhandari A/C.

At the same press conference on June 16, Dr. T.M Lotha informed that the three of them had merged with BJP to strengthen the NPF-led DAN-III government and also to facilitate more development with BJP-led NDA government at centre.

On June 16, state BJP unit president Dr. Chuba Ao had welcomed the three NCP legislators and congratulated them for applying their wisdom to join BJP without preconditions.

When contacted over phone today, NLA Speaker, Chotisuh Sazo informed Nagaland Post that under the provisions of the Tenth schedule of the Indian Constitution, a time period of 50 says was given to the three MLAs to submit relevant documents in support of their claims.

Sazo disclosed that he asked the three MLAs even to withdraw their statement over claims of merger with the BJP but that the three instead, took the matter to court where their petition was dismissed.

The NLA speaker told Nagaland Post that prior to giving his decision, he had examined all the provisions and clearance given under Anti defection law then only issued the order for disqualification of the three, as per the powers empowered on him.

Though the former NCP MLA s claimed they had fulfilled formalities and declared as BJP legislators, the Speaker on June 19 informed that he was yet to accept the claim of merger as mere submission of merger claim on him did not meant it was accepted.

Also Sazo said since both the parties were national parties (NCP and BJP), he had written a letter on June 17 to both NCP and BJP and also the three legislators seeking clarification about their claim of merger.

State NCP unit also filed a petition with the NLA speaker on June 21 seeking disqualification of the three MLAs after they claimed they had merged with the BJP on June 16. As per the directive received from the NCP central party which suspended the former MLAs on June 18 as per the order received from Delhi, the three MLAs had reportedly not resigned from NCP before they claimed to have merged with BJP.

However, it was contended, that since the three had not resigned from NCP before merger with BJP, they could not hold membership of both NCP and BJP simultaneously.

Also on June 21 NCP state unit general secretary Miathou Krose stated that national NCP president Sharad Pawar had requested the NLA Speaker on June 19 not to accept the letter of the three NCP MLAs on merger with BJP since the NCP had not passed any resolution to merge with BJP. This then had resulted in suspension of the three MLAs from the party.

The disqualification of the three NCP legislators has brought to the fore, the problems plaguing the DAN-III coalition.

It was learnt that the rival camps within NPF have yet to bury their hatchet though chief minister T.R. Zeliang has successfully overcome the hurdles posed by rivals within NPF legislature.

The BJP which has only on MLA had been boosted by the “merger” of the three NCP legislators taking the tally to four. Now with the disqualification of the three, the strength of the BJP reverts to just one MLA.

If the disqualifications of the three NCP legislators is confirmed, the by elections would be due within six months but none of the three would be able to contest for sometime.

The first by election this year will be held for the 11 Northern Angami-II which had fallen vacant after Neiphiu Rio resigned on being elected to the Lok Sabha. The by poll is expected to be held by October 2014.