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Merger of 21 NPF MLAs with NDPP a consensus decision: United Democratic Alliance chairman Zeliang

United Democratic Alliance (UDA) chairman T R Zeliang said the merger of 21 Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLAs with the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) was a consensus decision to form one strong regional party. He said the 10th schedule of the Constitution permits two-third legislators of a political party to merge with another political party. “The decision of the NPF MLAs to finally merge with the NDPP was not a sudden step, but a consensus decision to form a strong regional party so as not to allow any national political parties coming to Nagaland to take advantage and run the affairs of the state,” Zeliang said while talking to reporters in Chumouekedima district on Friday. “We have done it as per the law of the land… it is a merger and cannot be termed as defection,” he said.

Twenty-one out of 25 legislators of the NPF led by Zeliang joined the NDPP on April 29. After the merger of the 21 NPF MLAs, the NDPP now has 42 legislators in the 60-member House. The UDA chairman expressed hope that an amicable solution to the vexed Naga Political Issue (NPI) will be found. Zeliang said the recent visit of Centre’s interlocutor A K Mishra to Nagaland was following the request Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, Rajya Sabha MP K G Kenye during their recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi. He said that Mishra was here for a week and held discussions with the top leaders of NSCN(IM) and Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) as well as the Naga civil societies. “I believe, Mishra must have discussed the contentious issues… with NSCN(IM). But we (state government) are yet to hold any discussions with Mishra but once we meet we will ask him about the outcome of his discussions with NSCN(IM),” said Zeliang. Nonetheless, the UDA chairman said that political parties and legislators are hoping that “some amicable settlement will come with a compromise formula from Delhi because we had clearly told them (Modi and Shah) that the compromise formula has to come from the Government of India”. Also lamenting that many people have misunderstood the perception of the Core Committee on Naga Political Issue of the state government, he reiterated that “we are only facilitators of the talks between the Government of India and the Naga negotiating parties and not directly involved in the talks”. “We are pushing them forward to come together for talks and come to a conclusion that is our mission and will continue doing that,” said Zeliang. The Centre has been holding separate talks with the NSCN(IM) since 1997 and the NNPGs from 2017. It signed the framework agreement with NSCN(IM) on August 3, 2015 and an Agreed Position with NNPG on November 17, 2017.

Source: Economic Times