Nagaland crisis: Zeliang leaves for Delhi to replace ‘undemocratic’ Liezietsu
The former chief minister, in a letter to the governor on Saturday, said he enjoys the support of 41 MLAs in the 59-member assembly.india Updated: Jul 09, 2017 21:28 IST
A day after staking claim to form the next Nagaland government with 34 of the 47 MLAs in the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), former chief minister TR Zeliang left for the national capital to meet governor PB Acharya on Sunday. The two are expected to meet on Monday, after Acharya returns to Delhi from Mumbai.
Zeliang said he would also try and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh. “The political crisis in Nagaland today is caused by the undemocratic style of functioning of (chief minister) Shurhozelie Liezietsu in both the party and the government,” Zeliang said before leaving a high-end resort in Assam’s Kaziranga.
He had checked into the resort with at least 30 NPT legislators on Saturday morning. Ironically, most of these MLAs had forced Zeliang to quit in February – replacing him with a reluctant Liezietsu.
“Liezietsu is the NPF president and the chief minister. He made his son (Khriehu) his advisor, granting him the status of a cabinet minister. They are calling the shots despite not being elected members themselves. Therefore, the MLAs do not feel secure ahead of the assembly elections next year,” Zeliang said.
The former chief minister, in a letter to the governor on Saturday, said he enjoys the support of 41 MLAs in the 60-member assembly with an effective strength of 59. Khriehu had resigned last month to help his father contest the July 29 by-election from the Northern Angami-I seat.
Liezietsu needs to win this seat to continue as chief minister.
NPF, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, is the dominant partner in the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government. While there are four BJP legislators in the alliance, eight independents – all of whom resigned as Congress MLAs two years ago – support the government. “Seven of the eight independent MLAs are with us (and the BJP is sure to side with the NPF),” Zeliang said.
Liezietsu removed Zeliang as the finance advisor to the chief minister on Saturday evening, although the former chief minister tendered his resignation at the same time. He also sacked four ministers and 11 parliamentary secretaries loyal to Zeliang.
On Sunday morning, the NPF issued a statement announcing the suspension of 10 party MLAs – including Zeliang, Y Patton, G Kaito Aye and C Kipili Sangtam – who were powerful ministers until Saturday evening.
“The suspended NPF leaders – who still remain MLAs – will be bound by a party whip in case there is a trial of strength on the floor of the house,” a letter signed by NPF working presidents Hushka Yepthomi and Apong Pongner said.