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DAN III crisis continues with neither showing signs to relent

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jul 10, 2017 11:49 pm

Government spokesperson insists Zeliang offered chair, but refused; Khriehu rejects appointment as CM’s advisor

Our Correspondent
Kohima, July 10 (EMN): The bitter jostle for leadership among the Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLAs took a new turn today with the appointment of Kuzholuzo Nienu as the new chairman of Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN), a rank and status of cabinet minister.
This move comes against the backdrop where former chief minister TR Zeliang who was serving as the DAN chairman, was suspended by the NPF party on grounds of going against chief minister Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu and attempting to divide the party. Zeliang has led an anti-Liezietsu rebellion with 34 NPF and 7 independent MLAs who are currently camping in a resort near Kaziranga National Park in Assam.
Defending his new appointment, Kuzholuzo Nienu told reporters Monday evening that Zeliang automatically ceases to be DAN chairman with his suspension from the party as NPF was a partner in the alliance.

Zeliang was offered CM’s chair: Yitachu
In yet another twist to the current political drama, government spokesperson and education minister Yitachu disclosed that a day after Zeliang and his group of MLAs rushed to Kaziranga, he (Zeliang) was offered to return and take over the seat of the chief minister but he refused.
Addressing a press conference at the State Banquet Hall Kohima this evening, Yitachu narrated how things unfolded, saying there has been some “slight internal problem” in the NPF ever since Zeliang stepped down and Dr. Liezietsu took over in February 2017, as a “stop-gap” arrangement.
He said that on the day of Ram Nath Kovind’s presidential campaign on July 7, all the legislators had dinner together but later many of them went out, only to come back and raise the issue of leadership and taking over the chief minister post. Later on they were said to have gone to Kaziranga. Subsequently, Yitachu said, the remaining MLAs and party leaders discussed the issue on July 8 and decided that if this (rebellion) was for leadership and viewing that such a thing coming up at this juncture was not good for the party nor the people, therefore an official communication was conveyed through minister Vikheho Swu offering Zeliang to come back and take over the reins of the affairs of the state.
Zeliang was said to have replied that his group was having a meeting and would later pass on their decision. “Finally at 6.30 pm, the reply was, ‘we do not accept that offer’,” Yitachu stated, pointing out that this had sparked off a mixed reaction to the party.
“We thought they were here to take over the chief minister post and to run the government. But when they were asked to come and take over and run the government, they refused,” he said. He maintained that it had confused the party and prompted democratic steps like dropping and suspension orders.
Defending chief minister Liezietsu on the actions that had followed since, Yitachu said after Zeliang was offered the chief minister’s berth, the issue of Liezietsu not keeping his commitment and trying to deviate from what transpired while the transfer of power took place February last does not arise.
“The chief minister has been honest, sincere and kept his word and has handed over (his seat) but we do not know the reason why they have not accepted and continued to stick on,” he stated.
While regretting the inconveniences being caused to the government functioning and the general public from the prevailing crisis, Yitachu said it was strictly an internal matter of the NPF which will be resolved very soon.
He also emphasized that Zeliang and his group should not have gone to the Governor staking claim as the issue was an internal party matter. He alleged that though Zeliang may claim to have the majority, many MLAs were being kept confined in Kaziranga and many of them unaware of why they were being kept there.
When asked if the Governor who met TR Zeliang on Sunday, has communicated anything about the meeting to the CM, Yitachu replied that the Governor said the issue was internal NPF matter and told TR to resolve the issue back home.

Dr. Shürhozelie to contest by-election
Putting to rest speculations and rumours that chief minister Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu might back down and let his son Khriehu Liezietsu contest (again) in the by-elections to the 10 Northern Angami-I assembly seat, government spokesperson and minister Yitachu announced that it has been decided and it was final that the incumbent chief minister will file his nomination papers on Tuesday and fight in the by-election scheduled for July 29.
The minister admitted to differences in the party having sprouted from the by-election issue as well since initially there had been some apprehensions about it within members. He remarked that Zeliang might have thought a by-election should not have taken place and that the chief minister should pave way for him. However, he said the legislators forum, DAN alliance partners and NPF CEC were consulted that in the event the Election Commission announces by-poll, then Liezietsu would contest. Towards this, he wondered why there was opposition after an agreement.
Newly inducted DAN chairman Azo Nienu who was also present at the press conference said there has been a strong apprehension among NGOs going against TR Zeliang’s leadership that was why they had to allow the incumbent chief minister to contest.
He also said it is believed there were ulterior motive behind Zeliang refusing the offer for the chief ministership.
On whether another leader was identified to hand over the reins to, Nienu said there already is a chief minister so that question does not arise.
With regard to speculations of a floor test, Yitachu said such an internal party issue cannot be taken to the floor of the House, while Nienu added that a no confidence motion can be moved by the opposition leader of the House but here there was no opposition so there was no one to move.
On the reports that a dissolution of the House might be moved by the chief minister, Yitachu said it would be done only if the need arises.
Here, it is widely interpreted that Liezietsu might not want to move for dissolution of the House before July 17 as it would not sit well with the Centre with the Presidential Election scheduled for that day.

Khriehu rejects appointment as CM’s advisor
Former MLA Khriehu Leizietsu who was recently appointed as an advisor to the chief minister, triggering criticism from various quarters as the sitting chief minister is his father, has today rejected the appointment. This was largely seen as a bid to douse the rising dissidence in the ruling NPF party.
“I am writing this letter with reference to the government notification dated June 27, 2017, appointing me as advisor to the chief minister. While appreciating you for appointing me as advisor, I convey my regret that I will not be able to accept the assignment given to me due to my other pressing public engagements,” Khriehu stated in a letter addressed to his chief minister-father.
Khriehu had resigned as MLA from the 10 Northern Angami-I assembly seat to enable his father to contest as the latter is not an elected member and needs to win a by-election to continue as the chief minister.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Jul 10, 2017 11:49:32 pm