Nagaland CM Liezietsu fails to turn up for floor test, House adjourned
Former chief minister TR Zeliang, who was forced out of office in February following large-scale protests over holding of urban local bodies election with 33% reservation for women, had staked claim to form the government saying he had majority support in the House.Updated: Jul 19, 2017 12:16 IST
Nagaland chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu and nine ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) legislators skipped Wednesday’s floor test, forcing assembly speaker Imtiwapang Aier to adjourn the special session of the House.
It could not be immediately confirmed if the speaker sent a report in this regard to state governor PB Acharya.
Acharya had summoned the special session of the assembly at 9:30am after the Nagaland bench of the Gauhati high court on Tuesday dismissed Shurhozelie’s petition challenging the floor test that was earlier to be held by July 15.
An MLA in Shurhozelie’s camp, declining to be quoted, said the chief minister and his loyalists could not attend the special assembly session because they had to attend a funeral service in state capital Kohima’s Bayavu Hill.
Dissidence by 34 (later 37) out of 47 NPF legislators led by former chief minister TR Zeliang triggered the latest political crisis in Nagaland. Zeliang and his team checked into a resort in Assam’s Kaziranga on Saturday 8 before they had to be evacuated because of flood in July 14.
That very day, Shurhozelile went to court challenging Acharya’s July 9 call to prove his majority on the floor of the house on or before July 15. The court gave a temporary breather to Shurhozelie before the floor test could be held last Saturday.
NPF spokesperson Achumbemo Kikon, a member of Shurhozelie’s legal team, indicated the chief minister would not give up easily without a fight. “We are exploring many options before us,” he told reporters in Kohima.
The Zeliang camp, whose MLAs had unusually been travelling by bus to keep the flock together, did not react.
Zeliang , who claims the support of 43 MLAs including seven independents, had accused Shurhozelie of “undemocratic style of functioning” and “nepotism”. It was primarily a reference to the chief minister appointing his son Khriehu Liezietsu as his advisor with cabinet minister status on June 27.
Khriehu declined the “offer” offer 13 days later, but by then the damage – rebellion against his father – was already done. His appointment was seen as payback for resigning from the Northern Angami-I seat for letting his father contest to continue as chief minister.
Before challenging the order, the 80-year-old Shurhozelie had indicated the dissidents wanted to deny him the chance to contest the July 29 by-election to the Northern Angami-I seat.
On Tuesday night, after the governor sought a floor test, the Shurhozelie camp of NPF issued a whip to all its 47 MLAs for Wednesday’s floor test. The party warned that failure to comply would invite “consequences” as provided under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.
The Shurhozelie camp of NPF also decided to sever its 40-year-old ties with the BJP and approach the President of India for recalling the governor “so that the sanctity of the Raj Bhawan is maintained in future”.
The BJP retaliated by announcing its support to Zeliang and NPF legislators loyal to him.
Meanwhile, the political crisis in Nagaland has inspired a tongue-in-cheek poster campaign by a social NGO named Naga Peace Task Force.
One of the posters read: “When you elect clowns, expect a circus”.
First Published: Jul 19, 2017 11:10 IST