GUWAHATI: A day after Nagaland governor asked chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly by July 15, the CM on Wednesday challenged the governor with a terse legal argument.
A Cabinet meeting of the handful of ministers left behind in Nagaland – over 40 legislators are in Kaziranga with former CM T R Zeliang – resolved that the governor is exceeding his brief.
Liezietsu claimed there is a Supreme Court ruling that says “that the Governor can summon, prorogue and dissolve the House, only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers with the chief minister as the head. And not at his own.” Governor Padmanabha Balkrishna Acharya issued the directive of floor test after former CM T R Zeliang on Sunday staked claim to form the government. Zeliang claimed he had the support of 34 of the 47 Naga People’s Front (NPF) MLAs in the 60-member House that now has an effective strength of 59 following the resignation of an MLA.
“The Cabinet is of the firm opinion that there is no justification for summoning an emergency session of the Assembly to discuss or to resolve the internal affairs of the NPF party,” the Cabinet resolved.
It also stated that the defectors - ten of them suspended - continue to remain part of the NPF and have no separate legal identity in the Assembly other than NPF legislators.
As the CM has already filed his nomination to contest the by-election on July 29, it would not be “legally proper” for the Cabinet to advise the governor to summon the State Assembly during this election period, the Liezietsu government argued.
“In view of all the above facts and circumstances, it is the opinion of the Council of Ministers that it would not be proper to summon the House at this juncture,” the Cabinet resolution said.
As the political crisis continues, the ball is now thrown into Acharya’s court and the decision how to hit back, to New Delhi.