Kohima, July 8 (IANS) Nagaland appears headed for a fresh bout of political crisis with majority of the ruling Naga People’s Front legislators gunning for the ouster of Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu.
The rebellion within the legislature party erupted accusing Liezietsu, who took over as Chief Minister four months ago, of indulging in “nepotism” by appointing his son Khriehu Liezietsu as his advisor with cabinet status and pay.
Khriehu had resigned from his Northern Angami-I assembly seat last month to enable his father to contest and become an elected member in the Nagaland Assembly in order to continue as Chief Minister.
Chief Minister Liezietsu voiced confidence that the crisis within the NPF would be resolved at the earliest.
The NPF legislators along with the Independent legislators are camping at a resort in Kaziranga National Park in Assam to discuss the transition of power.
Of the 47 NPF legislators, 35 have signed a “letter of support” wanting Liezietsu’s predecessor T.R. Zeliang to take over again as Chief Minister.
Liezietsu, who is also the NPF president, was sworn in as Chief Minister on February 22 this year after Zeliang resigned following violent protest by tribal groups who were opposed to his move to hold civic polls with 33 per cent reservation for women.
“More than 40 (NPF and Independents) legislators have signed a letter of support in favour Zeliang as the new legislature party leader,” a senior NPF legislator, who wished not to quoted, told IANS.
“We are waiting for the return of Governor (P.B. Acharya) to Nagaland to brief him about the political developments and Zeliang to stake claim to form the new government,” the NPF legislator said.
The fresh political instability has come at a time when Liezietsu is gearing up for the July 29 by-election from the Northern Angami-I assembly constituency.
In an e-mailed statement, the Chief Minister said that he was deeply pained by the recent disturbing developments affecting the normal functioning of the government.
“The current issue is within the NPF party and will be resolved at the earliest to bring about normalcy in the state. The mandate of the people will be respected and the present crisis will be resolved in the larger interest of the people of the state,” Liezietsu stated.
Noting that the NPF-led government will complete its full term, the beleaguered Chief Minister appealed to the people of the state to remain calm.
“The normal government functioning should be smooth and the benefits of the government programmes at the grassroot level, especially in rural areas, should not be hampered in any manner,” Liezietsu said.
In the truncated 59-member assembly, the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition government comprises 47 NPF legislators, including suspended legislator Imkong Imchen, four Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and eight Independents.
Interestingly, Zeliang had even warmed up with his once bitter rival Neiphiu Rio, a three-time Nagaland Chief Minister.
Rio, the lone Lok Sabha member from Nagaland, was suspended a couple of years back for “anti-party activities”, particularly against Zeliang.