Crisis in DAN-III: Zeliang seeks to reclaim throne
Claims support of 33 NPF legislators and 7 Independent MLAs to stake claim to form government
Kohima, July 8 (EMN): In a major twist to the state’s political scene under the DAN-III, former chief minister TR Zeliang, backed by 33 NPF MLAs, on Saturday staked claim to form a new NPF-led DAN government in Nagaland. Zeliang is also the current chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland.
The new political development is considered to be an upshot of what is alleged as monopoly played by the incumbent chief minister Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu, who had taken over the reins to the state’s affairs on February 22 last after Zeliang had to unceremoniously step down due to pressure erupted out of the ULB issue.On Saturday, Zeliang in a letter to the governor, stated that 34 (including himself) out of 47 NPF MLAs have, during a meeting held at his residence in Dimapur on July 4, extended their support to him to continue as the Leader of the Legislature Party of the NPF and also authorized him (Zeliang) to stake claim to form a new government.
“The MLAs also urged the present chief minister, who is a non-MLA, to resign and pave way for me to take over as the chief minister,” Zeliang stated.
A copy of the minutes duly signed by the 34 NPF MLAs and the support resolution of 7 Independent MLAs which were forwarded to the governor, were also made available to the media.
An excerpt of the resolution reads: “Resolved, after considering all the circumstances, to request Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu to resign and pave way for TR Zeliang, the leader of the NPF legislature party to form a new DAN Government in Nagaland in accordance with established parliamentary conventions for a peaceful transition….
“Resolved that, in order to strengthen cohesion amongst the majority of the NPF MLAs, TR Zeliang, leader of the NPF legislature party be appointed as the person authorised to issue directions to the NPF MLAs (whip) for all activities on the floor of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, under paragraph 2(1)(b) of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India.”
The signatories include Y Patton, Kaito Aye, Dr N Kire, Deo Nukhu, Tokheho Yepthomi, EE Pangteang, C Kipili Sangtam, S Hukavi Zhimomi, CM Chang, Namri Nchang, Dr Benjongliba Aier, Dr Longriniken, Kropol Vitsu, Zhaleo Rio, Shetoyi, E Eshak Konyak, L Khumo Khiam, Nuklotoshi, SI Jamir, Neiba Kronu, Pukhayi Sumi, Kejong Chang, Naiba Konyak, S Pangnyu Phom, C Apok Jamir, Imkong Imchen, Imtikumzuk, Tovihoto Ayemi, Dr Neiphrezo Keditsu, Merentoshi R Jamir, BS Nganglang, Khekaho Assumi and Pohwang.
Interestingly, veteran regionalist Noke Wangnao’s name was missing from the list. Besides the above, Zeliang also claimed that 7 Independent MLAs affirmed their support in his favour, taking the tally to 41 out of 59. In his letter staking claim, Zeliang stated that it was proven that the council of ministers of the incumbent chief minister Liezietsu has been reduced to a minority.
Meanwhile, sources said that the rebellion for the ouster of chief minister Liezietsu was fuelled when he (Liezietsu) failed to consult sitting MLAs regarding his contesting a by-election on July 29. On the other hand, sources close to the chief minister were of the view that Zeliang, who clearly has the required two-third on his side, might have the numbers in his favour but the party constitution and legalities were not.
A CMO source claimed that amid the crisis, Zeliang was constantly in touch with Liezietsu as there were no differences between them. He was confident that Zeliang was resorting to a show of strength just because he felt the need to prove himself to some party leaders with whom he had fallen into some internal differences.
Another party source informed that some of the MLAs in Zeliang’s camp could be facing suspension or caution as the party’s Disciplinary Action Committee (DAC) was having a rather long meeting today on the prevailing situation.
Shürhozelie appeals people to ‘be calm’
Chief minister Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu has in a statement issued Saturday evening, admitted that the issue was within the NPF party and assured that it would be resolved at the earliest.
While expressing that he was ‘deeply pained’ by the recent disturbing developments affecting the normal functioning of the state government, he stated that the NPF led DAN government will complete its full term and further appealed to the people of the state to ‘remain calm’.
“The normal government functioning should be smooth and the benefits of the Government programmes at the grassroot level especially in rural areas should not be hampered in any manner,” Liezietsu stated.
He also assured that the mandate of the people will be respected and the present crisis will be resolved in the larger interest of the people of the state.
TR Zeliang resigns as Advisor (finance)
Zeliang, who is also the advisor (finance) has on Saturday tendered his resignation to said post in an official missive addressed to the chief minister. Interestingly, on the same day, the chief secretary issued a notification terminating the appointment of Zeliang to said post.
“The chief minister, Nagaland is pleased to terminate the appointment of TR Zeliang as Advisor (Finance) in the government of Nagaland with immediate effect,” the order stated.