Kohima: The Congress in Nagaland on Friday suffered a huge blow as its eight MLAs formally joined the ruling Naga People's Front, according to a statement issued by the NPF.
"The Congress Members have merged with the Naga People's Front in accordance with the law laid down by the Gauhati High Court in Writ Appeals Nos. 297 & 298/2014 and thus are protected against disqualification on ground of defection," claimed the statement issued by NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu.
Official sources said the eight MLAs, who are holding different positions in the government, today presented the claim of merger in the format required under the Members of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 2003 along with other supporting documents to the Speaker.
The MLAs had voted in favour of the leadership of Chief Minister TR Zeliang under the NPF-led DAN government in the February 5 confidence motion in the state Assembly.
In return, Zeliang inducted all of them into his ministry by allocating different positions as Minister, Parliamentary Secretary and Deputy Speaker last May.
The eight legislators are: SI Jamir, Tokheho Yepthomi, C ApokJamir, S Hukavi Zhimomi, Dr Imtiwapang Aier, Imtikumzuk, Eshak Konyak and Khekaho Assumi.
The AICC had subsequently suspended the legislators and charged them with "violating" the AICC's direction to not join the NPF government, headed by chief minister TR Zeliang, if the BJP is also a part of the government.
The Congress had also moved for their disqualification from the state Assembly on September 4.
With the merger of eight Congress, the strength of NPF in the 60-member Assembly has gone up to 46 while the BJP has four MLAs, one each NCP and JD(U) and eight Independent MLAs.