DIMAPUR, July 9 - Deepening the ongoing political crisis in NPF-led DAN government, Nagaland Chief Minister Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu sacked four of his cabinet ministers today as a countermove a day after former Chief Minister TR Zeliang staked claim to form the new NPF-led DAN government. They are Home Minister Y Patton, Forest Minister Imkong L Imchen, Power Minister Kipili Sangtam and National Highways Minister Kaito Aye.
Shurhozelie sacked Zeliang from his post as Advisor to CM (Finance) yesterday. Interestingly, in a letter to the Chief Minister, Zeliang had also submitted his resignation as Advisor (Finance) the same day. �The Chief Minister, Nagaland is pleased to terminate the appointment of TR Zeliang as Advisor (Finance) in the Government of Nagaland with immediate effect,� Nagaland Chief Secretary Pankaj Kimar said in a statement yesterday.
Zeliang is the current chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland. Zeliang has marshalled majority support of legislators to overthrow present incumbent Shurhozelie even before the latter could enter the House through byelection scheduled for July 29. It has been confirmed that Zeliang has 34 NPF legislators out of 47 and seven Independent members supporting him. They are presently camping at Borgos Resort in Kaziranga, Assam since yesterday. The resort has become a hideaway for dissidents of Nagaland state politics since 2014. The NPF party faces its fourth rebellion since 2014, twice this year alone.
Sources said the situational circumstance drew both bitter rivals Zeliang and Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio, who is also a former three-time chief minister of the state, together again and this time against their common foe � Chief Minister Shurhozelie.
Zeliang on Saturday shot off a letter to Nagaland Governor PB Acharya staking claim to form the new NPF-led DAN government with the support of 41 legislators out of 59. It all now depends on the Governor who is out of station. Sources said he will be returning only after attending the farewell ceremony of President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi slated for July 12.
In his letter, Zeliang said the NPF Legislature Party (34 out of 47 MLAs) held a meeting on July 4 at his Dimapur residence wherein the legislators extended support to him to continue as the leader of the NPF Legislature Party.
He said the legislators also authorized him to stake claim before the Governor to form a new NPF-led DAN government and urged upon the incumbent Chief Minister, who is a non-MLA, to resign and �pave way for me to take over as the chief minister.�
To back him claims, Zeliang also submitted the letter of support signed by 34 NPF MLAs. He further stated that seven out of eight Independent MLAs have resolved and affirmed their support to him, taking the tally to 41 MLAs out of 59. Zeliang said the council of ministers under the incumbent Chief Minister has been reduced to a minority. Therefore, Zeliang has requested the Governor to invite him to form the new government at the earliest.
Meanwhile, expressing that he was �deeply pained� by the recent disturbing developments affecting the normal functioning of the state government, Shurhozelie stated that the NPF-led DAN government will complete its full term and further appealed to the people of the state to �remain calm�.
Sources also said Shurhozelie, in order provide a stable government, had reportedly asked his colleagues in Kaziranga to come back to Kohima to negotiate and find an amicable solution. He also assured that 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.