GUWAHATI:As he braces for the floor test, embattled Nagaland Chief Minister T R Zeliang is pinning his hopes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hoping that the latter would not allow the destabilisation of his alliance government, which is barely eight months old.
Nagaland Governor P B Acharya has convened an emergent session of the Assembly on Thursday to decide on the internal squabbling within the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) on the issue of leadership.
“The Prime Minister doesn’t want to destabilise any government and as such, he has no intention to effect a change in the leadership in Nagaland. His position is that every state should be stable,” Zeliang told ‘Express’.
An ally of BJP-led NDA, the NPF is a major constituent of the ruling alliance in the state, which has 52 members. The BJP, the JD(U) and the NCP are the other constituents. Despite the high stakes, Zeliang is pretty upbeat on his government’s chances to surmount the litmus test.
“They (dissidents) don’t want me to continue and demand the direct installation of their government. But why should I go when I was voted by 52 of the 60 members in the House?” he asked. “I am ready for the floor test. If I lose it, I will gracefully step down,” Zeliang said.
He informed that the NPF would issue a whip to all its legislators and those violating it would be disqualified. The political unrest in the state has been brewing for over a month now after 21 of the 38 NPF legislators had raised its banner of revolt against Zeliang by electing suspended Minister Kaito Aye as leader of NPF Legislature Party and staking the claim to form the government. But party president Shurhozelie Liezietsu dubbed the meeting as illegal saying it was not convened by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister. Zeliang had all along insisted on a floor test but the rebels stuck to their guns, demanding the formation of a new government under Kaito. The Chief Minister blamed the two MPs from the state for the crisis.
“When Neiphiu Rio decided to step down as Chief Minister to contest the Lok Sabha elections, we all had opposed it but he was adamant. We thought he would swim in the ocean but he seems to be swimming in the pond now,” Zeliang said sarcastically.
Some suggest that the turmoil was engineered by Rio to be back in the scheme of things after he had been snubbed by the BJP which did not pick him in ministry. “He (Rio) is keeping his style of functioning up and down,” Zeliang said. He lambasted the former Chief Minister for “doing nothing” to ensure an early end to the Naga political deadlock.