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Governor has asked Nagaland CM to quit by July 13: Zeliang

Former Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang raised the stakes in his turf war with incumbent Shurhozelie Liezietsu, insisting he will push for a floor test if the CM doesn’t quit by July 13.

india Updated: Jul 14, 2017 18:35 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Nagaland,TR Zeliang,Shurhozelie Liezietsu
File photo of former Nagaland chief minister T R Zeliang claims to have the support of 44 MLAs in the 60-member state Assembly.(HT PHOTO)

Former Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang on Tuesday claimed that the state’s governor PB Acharya has asked current chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu to resign by July 13.

Zeliang had staked claim to form the government led by Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Sunday, a day after more than 40 party MLAs had trooped into a resort in Assam’s Kaziranga in a show of rebellion against Shurhozelie.

“The governor has given time to Shurhozelie till July 13 (Thursday) to resign. If he doesn’t, we are going for a floor test,” Zeliang said from Kaziranga. He had returned to the resort on Monday from the Guwahati airport after a sudden change of plan to fly to Delhi.

The chief minister’s office in Nagaland capital Kohima has denied receiving any instruction from Acharya.

Zeliang claimed his camp has 44 MLAs – 37 of them from ruling NPF and seven Independents – besides the backing of four BJP legislators. Except for one MLA who is undergoing treatment in Kohima, 43 MLAs including “myself” are in the Kaziranga resort, he said.

“The chief minister is asking our MLAs to go back to Kohima from Kaziranga. He is threatening them with disqualification out of sheer desperation. How can one run a government if 44 MLAs in a 60-member assembly with an effective strength of 59 are disqualified?” Zeliang asked.

Read more: Nagaland: Son Khriehu ‘sacrifices’ post to save CM father Shurhozelie’s chair

He, however, said Shurhozelie had offered him to take over but without the group of MLAs who are close to NPF’s Lok Sabha member and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio. About half a dozen MLAs are Rio’s supporters.

“They (Shurhozelie’s group) told Rio to take over after I said no to the deal. Rio told them he could not go back on his decision to support me,” Zeliang said.

The former chief minister, who was forced to quit in February by many of the MLAs now with him, criticised Shurhozelie for being vindictive towards four ministers. The four, axed on Sunday after siding with Zeliang, were given seven days’ time to vacate their official quarters while their official vehicles and security were withdrawn.

“The normal time is a month. I used to give 30 days’ time when I was the chief minister,” Zeliang said.

The former chief minister further said his group will check out of the Kaziranga resort and go to Kohima if Shurhozelie does not resign and the governor calls for a floor test.

Governor Acharya who had gone to Mumbai, returned on Monday to Arunachal Pradesh of which he holds additional charge.

Nagaland is facing a political crisis for the third time in just over two years because of a power struggle within the ruling NPF. Zeliang, who replaced Rio as chief minister in 2014 after the latter decided to contest the Lok Sabha polls, survived a floor test in February 2015 when Rio tried to return to state politics.

Zeliang faced rebellion within the NPF last February after the government’s decision to hold the civic polls with reservation for women triggered violent protests.

First Published: Jul 11, 2017 14:11 IST