Kohima, Feb. 16: The ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) president, Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu’s name has been endorsed by 35 NPF and 7 independent MLAs to take over the helms from Chief Minister TR Zeliang as the legislature party leader. However, the final decision will be taken only after Zeliang returns from Delhi on Friday.
Confirming this at a press conference on Thursday after a meeting of the said MLAs, Minister in charge of Parliamentary Affairs, Kiyanilie Peseyie said a resolution was brought out by 42 MLAs proposing the party president to take over as the new head of government and have asked TR Zeliang to resign in the interest of the party, the public and the government.
When asked if Zeliang and Liezietsu have agreed to this proposal, Peseyie said the legislators have expressed their wish to both and that it was now up to Zeliang to decide. Stating that the Chief Minister was currently in Delhi and is expected to return Friday, he said a meeting was scheduled at 5:30 p.m.
Zeliang, who was supposed to meet Liezietsu this morning, had rushed off to Delhi along with Governor PB Acharya. CMO sources said the Chief Minister spoke to the party president over the phone before he left, and had assured that he would pave the way for the new leadership.
Rajya Sabha MP, KG Kenye, who is also the secretary general of the NPF party, later clarified that the Chief Minister and Governor were unexpectedly summoned by the Union Home Ministry. He also confirmed that 42 NPF and independent MLAs have decided to propose to Zeliang to relinquish his chair and for Liezietsu to take over.
Kenye also said Thursday’s meeting, which was held at the PHE minister Tokheho Yepthomi’s official residence, was “just a consultative meeting” reaffirming the proposal. It was learnt that the meeting, held amid speculations and rumours, was attended by 32 NPF legislators and 7 independent MLAs.
“He (Zeliang) has already accepted the proposal of all his legislators, in fact, he is a part of the decision,” Kenye said.
On why the party took this long to take a decision on the change of guard when tribal organisations have paralysed the functioning of the government for demanding Zeliang to step down owning moral responsibility to the event unfolding from the conduct of ULB elections, the MP replied that various agencies and individuals had been at work mediating and trying to diffuse the imbroglio, adding that NPF was hoping for a breakthrough.
“Finally we have conceded to the demands of the people, but this is not a question of withdrawing support to TR Zeliang’s leadership. There is no deficiency in support of his leadership through this decision,” Kenye asserted.
He termed it unfortunate that since Zeliang came into power, he had been “dogged” with various issues and pressure, but through it all, the NPF legislators stood firmly rooted in their support for him and the party.
“Even now, it is not a question of withdrawing their support to his leadership. He (Zeliang) enjoys the full support of the party as well as his colleagues,” he said, and added that they have reached to an understanding considering the current situation.
He also denied of any directives issued by Delhi, saying that the NPF is a regional party and it makes its decisions here.
Meanwhile, the state BJP on the other hand, is reported to have been keeping close watch on how things will unfold in the next few days. Though attempts to reach the BJP legislators for comment were rendered futile, however a party functionary said that there is still no directive from the party high command since the chief minister is yet to officially tender his resignation.
Internet services, SMS likely from Monday
One of the MLAs who was present at the meeting informed that the ban on mobile internet and SMS services which was imposed on January 31 last, is likely to be in force till Sunday. He said the services would resume by next Monday.
No PR in Nagaland, says CM
Chief Minister TR Zeliang, along with Nagaland Governor PB Acharya arrived New Delhi late this evening to Delhi to apprise the Centre about the factual prevailing condition in the State and to insist with the Centre not to impose Central Rule in Nagaland.
CMO press release today said the chief minister and the Governor are in the national capital to impress upon the Central leadership, considering the political developments in the last 24 hours, rather than remaining in the State, since they are more alarmed with the likelihood of imposition of President’s Rule by the Centre which will not solve the social unrest that the State is going through right now.