By Sujit Chakraborty
AIZWAL: In an ironic turn of events, an IPS officer-turned-politician from Mizoram who was disqualified as a member of the Lok Sabha for defection in 1988, lost his membership of the state Assembly on Friday for the same reason.
A senior Mizoram Assembly official said that Speaker Lalrinliana in his order, on Friday, said Lalduhoma has been disqualified for “losing the character of an independent legislator”.
“Lalrinliana, in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Speaker under para 6 of the 10th Schedule to the Constitution of India, took the decision after a petition submitted by 12 MLAs against Lalduhoma,” the official, who did not want to be identified, told IANS.
“The Speaker, before taking the disqualification decision, had studied such precedents of Parliament and other state legislatures. In his decision, the Speaker noted that Lalduhoma, who was elected an Independent, was not a candidate fielded by any political party but he admitted that he joined the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) party on August 19 last year and for his subsequent conduct and activities attracted the disqualification.”
“Lalduhoma, the respondent, ceases to be a member of the Mizoram Legislative Assembly with immediate effect and his seat, therefore, falls vacant in terms of article 190 (3) of the Constitution of India,” the Speaker’s order stated.
After the Speaker’s order, Lalduhoma, 71, told the media that he has not yet decided whether to move to the court against the decision.
Lalduhoma had joined the Indian Police Service in 1977 and served as the security in-charge of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. He had joined the Congress after quitting service in 1984 and then got elected unopposed to the Lok Sabha the same year from Mizoram.
However, he was the first member of the lower house of the Parliament to be disqualified under the anti-defection Law for quitting the party in 1988.
Lalduhoma had formed the Mizo National Union, which later merged with the Mizoram People’s Convention. He subsequently joined the Mizo National Front (MNF), currently ruling Mizoram, but left it too to form the Zoram Nationalist Party (ZNP).
Ahead of the 2018 election to the 40-member Mizoram assembly, the ZNP and five other regional parties formed the ZPM, which won six Assembly seats and became the main opposition party in the mountainous northeastern state.
Lalduhoma was elected as an Independent from both the Aizawal West-1 and the Serchhip constituencies, defeating Congress Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla in the latter, and vacated Aizawl West-1.
However, a year later, he declared himself as a member of the ZPM.
The 12 MLAs of ruling MNF in September had filed a petition with the Speaker demanding Lalduhoma’s disqualification for “defecting to the ZPM”.
“He had attended the party office and inducting new members into the party at functions across Mizoram, which “clearly manifested that he defected to the ZPM,” the petition said.
Lalduhoma was served notice the same month and in his reply on October 8, he told the Speaker that he had “continuously maintained my allegiance to the ZPM since its formation in 2017”.
(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at email@example.com)