GUWAHATI: Assembly elections are round the corner in Nagaland. Former Chief Minister TR Zeliang has claimed that most MLAs in Nagaland’s ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) do not want to go to polls under “politically-retired” Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu. He has already staked claim to form the government.
As the crisis deepens with the fight reaching the court, Zeliang blamed it on octogenarian Liezietsu’s lust for power. He said that the unelected Liezietsu had taken over as the CM only for “two-three months” and now with him filing nominations to contest the July 29 by-elections, the MLAs were feeling insecure.
Liezietsu had taken over in February after Zeliang was forced to resign in the wake of violent protests against his government’s decision to conduct civic elections with quota for women.
“This is affecting the DAN (Democratic Alliance of Nagaland) government. Apart from NPF ministers, he (CM) also dropped
some parliamentary secretaries who are independent MLAs,” the former CM said.
He claimed that he had the support of 43 MLAs—36 of them from NPF and seven independents—in the 60-member House that now has an effective strength of 59 following the resignation of CM’s son Khriehu Liezietsu.
The CM is appealing to MLAs to reconcile but Zeliang said the time was up. “When the CM is reduced to minority, he should resign or be prepared to face the floor test. That’s what the law says. But here, he doesn’t want to face it because he doesn’t have the numbers with him,” he said.
Asked about the court’s order that stayed the floor test till July 17, Zeliang said, “There was no order from the governor of the House being summoned. He only directed the CM to agree to a floor test. It was only a correspondence between the two of them. The court shouldn’t have intervened”.
He said he would move a higher court to challenge the stay order of the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court.