GUWAHATI: The political crisis in Nagaland is far from over. Eleven MLAs — 10 of them from the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and an Independent— will move the Kohima Bench of the Gauhati High Court to get the issue of the NPF chief whip cleared. All of them are loyal to ousted chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu. After being appointed as the CM following the “dismissal” of Liezietsu by governor PB Acharya, TR Zeliang had on July 21 proved his majority on the floor of the House by winning the trust vote 47-11. Thirty six of the 47 NPF MLAs, besides four BJP and seven Independent legislators, had voted in his favour.
The NPF insisted that as per rules, Assembly Speaker Imtiwapang Aier should have disqualified the 36 NPF MLAs, who had backed Zeliang, as the party had decided the whip ahead of the floor test.
“The NPF appointed Kiyanilie Peseyie as the chief whip in 2014 and he has been holding the post ever since. That appointment is still valid in the Assembly. It hasn’t been withdrawn or revoked either by the party or the Assembly. Then, TR Zeliang appointed himself as the chief whip of the NPF Legislature Party but it has to be done by the party, not the legislature party,” former Speaker Chotisuh Sazo, who is one of the MLAs left with Liezietsu, told the New Indian Express on Monday.
He said the Speaker had not given any clear indication as to which one was the real whip. One cannot have two whips in one Assembly for one party, Sazo pointed out. “The tenth schedule of the Constitution (anti-defection law), Para 2 1(b) says that it is the political party which is to give direction (about whip) but not the legislature party.
The NPF constitution Article V Clause 10 says the (party) president has to authorise one person for issuing ordinance to all its members within the legislature wing. All these rules authorise the party chief whip to issue whip in the Assembly,” Sazo argued.
He said the 11 lawmakers were taking legal recourse as the issue of two leaders, which came up in the House, needed to be cleared by the court. He added that the MLAs had asked the Speaker for clarity on the issue but the latter did not follow up on it.
Asked about when they will move the court, Sazo said, “The MLAs are in touch with the lawyer and the case may be filed today (Monday) itself”.
Zeliang was expelled by the NPF for six years 15 minutes after being sworn in. Later, 19 other MLAs were expelled and 10 others suspended by the party.