Ahead of the assembly elections on February 27, the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) suffered a setback with two of its MLAs, including a minister, resigning from the state House. With them, six Independents also given up their membership of the assembly. Nagaland Speaker Imtiwapang Aier has accepted the resignations and declared the respective seats vacant, a notification issued by Nagaland Commissioner and Secretary N Benjamin Newmai said last night. NPF Minister for Roads and Bridges, G Kaito Aye and MLA Neiphrezo Keditsu were among those who quit. Kaito has joined the JD(U). JD(U) of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, which was part of ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) with Naga People’s Front and BJP, have walked out of the coalition and is contesting the assembly poll on its own. JD(U) has declared 11 candidates so far for the ensuing assembly elections. BJP has also left NDA to join hands with newly formed National Democratic Political Party (NDPP). Neiphrezo Keditsu, a first timer had won the Northern Angami-II bye-elections in 2014 following the then Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio going to the Lok Sabha. Neiphrezo is the son-in-law of Neiphiu Rio. Returning to state politics as the chief ministerial candidate of the newly-floated Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), Rio is contesting from the same constituency this time. Neiphrezo resigned to pave way for Neiphiu Rio.
The six Independent MLAs who resigned are Y M Yolow, Toyang Changkong Chang, Picto, S Chuba Longkumar, Levi Rengma and Amenba Yaden. Except for Levi Rengma, the Parliamentary Secretary for PWD (Housing), the rest five have joined the NPF and have been given party ticket to contest this elections. The NPF had yesterday declared 58 candidates, including Chief Minister T R Zeliang, for the 60 seats. NPF President Dr Shurhozelie, who is also an MLA, has declared not to contest the elections but is resending his son Khriehu Liezietsu for the Northern Angami-I seat.
Khriehu was first elected in 2013 but resigned in May 24 last year paving way for his father Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu to get elected as a member of the Assembly. Following spate of resignations, the strength of the 60-member Nagaland House has been reduced to 35. The House is presently left with 30 NPF MLAs, four BJP legislators and one Independent MLA. Nagaland Assembly election is scheduled for February 27. Result will come on March 3 along with Tripura and Meghalaya.