Monday June 17, 2019
Home Politics Congress weig...

Congress weighing legal options before action against Nagaland MLAs

0
//

New Delhi: Even as the budget session of the Nagaland assembly is on, the Congress leadership in the capital is all set to take action “very soon” against all its eight MLAs who have joined the state’s Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) coalition government of which the BJP is a part.

picture from- legislativebodiesinindia.nic.in
picture from- legislativebodiesinindia.nic.in

“The Congress high command is holding consultations with legal experts and will take action against these MLAs very soon,” party general secretary in charge of Nagaland, V. Narayanasamy, said, adding that all options were being considered.

In May, all eight Congress MLAs – S.I. Jamir, Tokheho Yepthomi, Apok Jamir, Hukavi Zhimomi, Imti Wabang, Imti Kumzuk Longkumar, Ishak Konyak and Khekaho – joined the Nagaland People’s Front (NPF)-led DAN government throwing the political landscape into a state of flux.

S.I. Jamir and Apok Jamir also happen to be the brother and son respectively of former Congress chief minister and current Governor of Odisha, S.C. Jamir.

While Tokheho Yepthomi was made minister for public health and engineering, S.I Jamir holds cabinet rank as advisor to chief minister and Imti Kumzuk Longkumar was made deputy speaker of the assembly.

The other five MLAs were made parliamentary secretaries.

The sequence of events unfolded from February this year when the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) president S.I. Jamir and then Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Tokheho Yepthomi briefed party president Sonia Gandhi that they would like to join the government of Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang.

“The party president said that she had no problem in them joining the DAN government provided the BJP was not a part of it,” explained Narayanasamy.

The two state leaders then informed Zeliang that the Congress high command has approved of them joining his government provided the BJP was not a part of it.

In April, a “political affairs committee” of the party’s state unit passed a resolution approving the MLAs’ bid to join the government.

But party members raised objections saying that such a resolution can only be passed by the executive committee and not by any political affairs committee.

“You see, the resolution was not unanimous and the party was split on the issue,” Narayanasamy said.

On May 5, Gandhi appointed K. Therie as the NPCC president and the very next day the latter issued a directive to the MLAs not to join the DAN government.

According to Narayanasamy, on May 7, a press statement was also issued saying that the MLAs have been directed by the Congress president not to join the DAN government “as we cannot be on the same side as that of a communal party like BJP”.

The very next day, the eight MLAs were inducted into the government.

“I, as party general secretary, immediately suspended them and issued a show-cause notice,” Narayanasamy said.

So what was their response?

“They said that to solve the Naga political issue, the chief minister has proposed an all-party government and that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given an assurance (in December last year) that the Naga issue would be solved within 18 months. They also said that in case the party leaders felt that they have violated the party directive, they were sorry,” the Congress general secretary said.

Narayanasamy then sent a rejoinder saying that the MLAs’ act of joining the government was not acceptable and “as a matter of principle, the Congress and the BJP cannot sit in the same government”.

“We also said that though you are suspended from the party, you are still Congressmen and you have to oppose the government on the floor of the house,” he said.

The party also issued a three-line whip on this basis to the eight MLAs a week before the ongoing budget session of the assembly that started on July 21. However, there has been no reply to the latest whip.

“We are now consulting legal experts on whether to move the speaker and disqualify them from the assembly or to expel them from the party,” Narayanasamy said.

“We will take a decision within a very short period.”

(IANS)

Next Story

Will Congress Party be Able to Survive in Future in Face of Modi Onslaught?

It was India’s “Grand Old Party.” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence

0
congress, modi
From left, Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi, her son and party President Rahul Gandhi, and former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh attend a Congress Working Committee meeting in New Delhi, May 25, 2019. VOA

It was India’s “Grand Old Party.” The Congress Party ruled the country for 55 out of 71 years since independence. But following the party’s crushing electoral debacle for a second time, there are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in decades: Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Contrary to expectations, India’s mammoth general election turned out to be virtually a no-contest between Modi and Congress Party president Rahul Gandhi as it became a presidential-style battle.

“It is not what went wrong with the Congress, it is more of a story of what went right for Prime Minister Modi. He stood as a tall leader, as an achiever, as somebody who understood people’s aspirations,” says political commentator Rasheed Kidwai, who has authored a biography of Rahul Gandhi’s mother, Sonia Gandhi. On the other hand, “Rahul Gandhi is temperamentally not a power wielder. He is a trustee of power.”

The sixth member of the Nehru Gandhi family to lead the party, Rahul is often seen as a “reluctant politician”, despite his spirited campaign to revive the party and challenge Modi after its rout in 2014.

modi, congress party
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves toward his supporters during an election campaign rally in New Delhi, May 8, 2019. VOA

Gandhi’s rallies drew crowds, but his efforts to project Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party as a threat to India’s secular traditions or to highlight issues of economic distress failed to resonate. His attempts to nail him for corruption in a deal to buy Rafale French fighter jets fell flat. His promise of a minimum wage for India’s poorest families was met with skepticism, even among the poor.

On the other hand, Modi, successfully wooed voters with his message of strident nationalism and subtle appeal to the majority Hindu community. Along with it, there was another theme: he projected himself as the humble son of a tea seller, a self made man who fought all odds to reach the top post in contrast to what he called the “entitled” Gandhi who had inherited the mantle of leadership of the Congress Party. It drew cheers from the country’s emerging middle and lower-middle classes, exhausted with dynastic politics.

The Congress Party’s tally of 52 seats in parliament was only a notch higher than the 44 seats it won in 2014 in the 545-member parliament. The party’s candidates returned empty-handed in half the Indian states and in several others the party only mustered a single digit tally.Modi’s BJP won 303 seats.

The scale of its losses not just crushed hopes the Congress Party would either lead a credible challenge to Modi or return as invigorated opposition – it once again raised questions over the leadership of the Gandhi family.

congress, modi
The sixth member of the Nehru Gandhi family to lead the party, Rahul is often seen as a “reluctant politician”, despite his spirited campaign to revive the party and challenge Modi after its rout in 2014. VOA

Rahul Gandhi has offered to resign, but expectedly the party that has no second rung of leadership has turned it down. “The party will fulfill its role as a strong opposition. We need Rahul Gandhi to lead us in these challenging times,” Congress Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said after a meeting of the party’s senior leaders on the weekend.

Rahul Gandhi also lost the Amethi constituency the party had held for 50 years in Uttar Pradesh state. In another humiliating blow for the Gandhi family, his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who was appointed in a senior post to revive the party, failed to make an impact. Rahul’s mother, Sonia Gandhi, won her party’s only seat in the state.

Rahul Gandhi’s victory in another constituency in South India means he will continue to be a lawmaker. Dynastic politics is not limited to the Congress Party: lawmakers from political families are a routine feature of Indian politics. But political commentators say in an era showing a preference for strong, populist leaders, Modi was the clear victor.

congress, modi
here are questions about its future as the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty at its helm is unable to counter the most powerful leader India has produced in decades: Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Wikimedia Commons

“There is a new sense of nationalism sweeping across many conventional democracies. There is a yearning for a strong leader that captures the public imagination,” according to political analyst Ajoy Bose. “I don’t really see the conventional Congress Party or the conventional leadership mounting a challenge to Modi. He has completely taken the country by storm.”

ALSO READ: India’s President ‘Ram Nath Kovind’ Designates ‘Narendra Modi’ as PM for Second Term

Gandhi tried to give a positive message after the party’s rout. “We have a different vision of India [from Modi]”, said the head of the party that has long projected itself as a defender of India’s minorities, such as Muslims who worry about religious polarization and a rise in hate crimes since Modi came to power. “There is no need to be afraid. We will continue to work hard and we will eventually win.”

But it may be difficult to reinvent what analysts call a “fading party.” They say Modi’s BJP now occupies the dominant political space that the Congress party did for decades. “Congress is going to get reduced to, you know, like the Liberals did in Britain,” says Rasheed Kidwai. (VOA)