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Political crisis in Nagaland again: NPF legislators revolt against CM Shurhozelie

The chief minister is facing rebellion from the very party legislators who made him come out of retirement from electoral politics and take the hot chair four months ago.

india Updated: Jul 08, 2017 23:13 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
NPF,Shurhozelie,T R Zeliang
Nagaland chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu faces rebellion from the NPF legislators four months after they made him come out of retirement from electoral politics and take the hot chair. (PTI File photo )

Monopoly is becoming too hot to handle for the Naga People’s Front (NPF), the dominant partner of a coalition government in Nagaland.

Four months after TR Zeliang was forced to step down as chief minister, his successor Shurhozelie Liezietsu is facing rebellion from the very party MLAs who made him come out of retirement from electoral politics and take the hot chair.

More than 30 of the 47 NPF legislators moved into a resort near central Assam’s Kaziranga National Park early Saturday morning, reportedly in a bid to help Zeliang become the chief minister again.

It was virtually an action replay of what happened before Zeliang had to quit in the last week of February. A majority of NPF legislators had trooped into the same resort then.

An executive of Borgos resort confirmed the checking-in of the Nagaland MLAs. “More than 30 ministers and MLAs came around 3am today (Saturday) and booked 30 rooms. There are others too,” he said.

An NPF leader, declining to be quoted, did not rule out the possibility of lone Lok Sabha member and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio being behind the latest political turmoil in Nagaland.

One of the reasons behind the rebellion against Shurhozelie is said to be nepotism that saw him make his son Khriehu Leizeitsu his advisor with cabinet status and pay.

There are reports from the state that Rio and Zeliang, once his bitter rival, have patched up. The NPF had suspended Rio last year for “anti-party activities”, particularly against Zeliang.

Shurhozelie, however, downplayed the development. “This is an internal matter and will be solved internally. I appeal to the people to maintain calm at this juncture,” he said in a statement on Saturday evening.

The trigger for the rebellion against Zeliang in February was a prolonged violent protest by tribal non-government organisations (NGOs) against the quota for women in Nagaland’s long-overdue civic elections.

The new political development in Nagaland has come at a time when Shurhozelie, also the president of the NPF , is gearing up for the July 29 by-election from the Northern Angami-I assembly seat covering a part of state capital Kohima.

Son Khriehu had resigned from this seat last month to enable father to contest and be an elected member of the now 59-member Nagaland assembly in order to continue in office.

The NPF, with 47 legislators, is the dominant partner of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland. It has the support of four MLAs of BJP and eight independents. The party is in power in Nagaland since 2003.

First Published: Jul 08, 2017 13:15 IST