Nagaland Governor again directs chief minister to prove majority

The Nagaland Governor earlier said that from the material available to him, it prima facie appeared that chief minister Shurhozuelie Liezietsu has lost support of the majority of the Assembly. Photograph:( DNA )

PTI Kohima, Nagaland, India Jul 13, 2017, 06.48 PM (IST)

Nagaland Governor PB Acharya on Thursday asked Chief Minister Dr Shurhozuelie Liezietsu once again to prove his majority on the floor of the Assembly positively on or before July 15, a directive the state cabinet had turned down earlier in the day.

In a letter addressed to the chief minister late Thursday (July 14), the governor said that Liezietsu did not deny TR Zeliang's claims of enjoying the support of 44 of the 59 MLAs in the House.

Acharya said it was not an "internal matter" of the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) as claimed by the chief minister, but about whether he enjoyed the support of the majority of the House or not.

He also said that from the material available to him, it prima facie appeared that the chief minister had lost support of the majority of the Assembly and therefore, again requested him to call an emergency session of the assembly to prove his majority on the floor of the House.

While turning down the governor's directive earlier in the day, the state cabinet said the by-poll to Northern Angami-I seat has already been notified and the model code of conduct is in force. The chief minister has also filed his nomination papers.

The cabinet said, "It would not be legally proper for the cabinet to advise, and for the Governor to summon the assembly during this election period."

The Governor replied that as far as the by-election was concerned, it was for only one constituency and so it should not come in the way of recommending summoning of a special session of the assembly. 

Liezietsu revokes Zeliang's suspension

After turning down Governor PB Acharya's directive to seek trust vote by July 15, Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu on Thursday night revoked the suspension of TR Zeliang, who has staked claim to form government, and 10 others.

Former chief minister Zeliang, however, said he has not received any official communication about the revoking of suspension and his demand for forming the government stays.

Zeliang, claiming the support of 41 of 59 MLAs in the assembly, wrote to the Governor on July 8 for an invitation to form the new NPF-led DAN government.

Liezietsu then dismissed four ministers and 11 parliamentary secretaries and suspended them all besides Zeliang from the party. Of the parliamentary secretaries, five belonged to the NPF.

An NPF release tonight announced revoking of the suspension order of Zeliang, four ministers and five parliamentary secretaries who were all party members.

Besides, NPF withdrew suspension of three-time chief minister and lone Lok Sabha MP from Nagaland Neiphiu Rio, who was suspended for anti-party activities on May 17 last year.

"The decision to withdraw suspension of the 11 NPF legislators was taken as part of a resolution adopted during a consultative meeting of the NPF Legislature Party along with NPF Central Party leaders held this evening at the chief minister's residential office," the NPF release said.

It said the decision was taken for the sake of "true reconciliation and better understanding" to resolve NPF's "internal crisis" and for the sake of the larger interest of the Nagas.

Waiting for Governor to return to Kohima: Zeliang

Zeliang, however, said, "I have the support of 36 NPF MLAs and seven Independent MLAs. We are firm on our claim to establish a new NPF government in the state."

He said they were waiting for the Governor to return to Kohima and "call us to form the government or let the Chief Minister face the floor test."

"We will return if the floor test is held by July 15. Otherwise we will wait," he told PTI over phone from Assam where he is camping with his supporters.

Rajbhavan sources said, Acharya is out of station and is scheduled to return to Kohima tomorrow.

"We have not received any official communication about withdrawal of suspension but came to know of it from friends in Kohima. We will decide (about it) only after receiving the official communication," Zeliang added.

Asked whether his group would merge with BJP, he said "We have not taken any decision on that line. Since we are NPF MLAs, we will remain in NPF."

Earlier, a cabinet meeting headed by the chief minister discussed the governor's directive to face trust vote by July 15 and decided against calling any emergency session of the assembly for the purpose.

"The state cabinet was of the firm opinion that there was no justification for an emergency session of the assembly to discuss or resolve the internal affairs of the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF)," stated a joint statement issued by Chief Minister Liezietsu and Chief Secretary Panjak Kumar.

The statement quoted a Supreme Court ruling saying that "the governor can summon or prorogue and dissolve the House, only on the aid and advice of the council of ministers with the chief minister as its head, and not on his own."

The present strength of the 60-member Nagaland assembly is 59 as the Northern Angami I seat is vacant now. The bypoll for the seat will be held on July 29.
In the assembly, the NPF has 47 members, the BJP four and independents eight. There is no opposition. 

Story highlights

The Governor said that from the material?available to him, it prima facie appeared?that the chief minister?had?lost support of the majority of the Assembly ||The state cabinet had turned down the Governor's request stating that no action could be taken on account of a by-election