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Nagaland CM Shurhozelie Liezietsu's son declines cabinet post to bail out father but fails to convince dissident MLAs

Nagaland chief minister's son Khriehu Liezietsu has declined to accept his father's offer to be an advisor to the state government in order to disarm the dissident groups within Naga People's Front, the ruling party in the state. However, the move does not seem to have gone down well with the intended group of MLAs.

In a letter addressed to the chief Minister, Khriehu had said on Tuesday that he would not be able to accept the assignment due to his other pressing public engagements, though he appreciated the chief minister for considering him for the post of an advisor.

File image of Shurhozelie Liezetsu. Image courtesy: NPF

File image of Shurhozelie Liezetsu. Image courtesy: NPF

Khriehu's decision is being seen as another attempt by Nagaland chief minister Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu’s group to make parley with the dissenters. On Sunday, the NPF made a statement that the door for talks will remain open.

There are also murmurs within the party that clandestine attempts are being made to take the dissident group back into the fold by Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu’s group of MLAs. But KG Kenye, a close aide of the Nagaland chief minister and a Member of Parliament denied it. “No attempt has been made to bring back the dissidents, but doors are open to the ones who want to come back home,” he said.

On Saturday, TR Zeliang, former chief minister of Nagaland wrote to the governor claiming to form government. Zeliang told the government that he has support of 41 MLAs which include 34 from NPF and seven independent MLAs. The letter also said that the dissident MLAs also demanded ouster of the chief minister.

Significantly, out of the remaining MLAs only 14 belong to the ruling NPF while four of them are from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) — an ally to the ruling NPF — and have maintained strict neutrality during the present crisis.

The 60-membered Nagaland Assembly does not have a single Opposition MLA.

Kenye told Firstpost that his party is appreciative of the allies as they have chosen to remain strictly neutral.

Therefore, at this hour of crisis when the Nagaland chief minister does not have the support of majority of the MLAs, the move made by his son Khriehu is seen as an attempt to disarm the dissident group, that has been harping on 'nepotism' issue against his father and chief minister Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu.

But Khriehu's move has hardly made any impact on the intended group of MLAs.

A source in the dissident group, who did not wish to be named said, "The chief minister’s son was offered the post of an advisor with cabinet rank and pay on 27 June. Why did it take him 13 days and a political crisis to crop up to turn that offer down."

Imkong Imchen, a leader in the dissident group said that there is no question of retracting from his position as a dissident MLA even though the chief minister’s son has declined to accept the cabinet post.

"We want the chief minister to step down,” he said candidly.

Another leader in the dissident group, G Kaito Aye, however, said that any decision on switching camp will be collective. “Any decision taken would be collective and I cannot issue any statement in this regard.”

Khriehu’s appointment as an advisor to the chief minister had attracted flak both in mainstream as well as the social media. Zeliang picked up the issue to mobilise support in favour of his chief ministership and brew dissidence against the sitting chief minister. The dissident group of MLAs also alleged dictatorial way of functioning and favoritism against the sitting Shurhozelie.

On Sunday, the chief minister suspended four of his ministers and 10 parliamentary secretaries alleging anti-party activities. As per sources in Nagaland, the governor is not present in the state and a new political drama may unfold when he arrives on Wednesday.

However, Kenye hopes that the present political crisis will be solved soon as it has cropped up from misunderstandings within the party.

Shurhozelie is slated to contest from the Northern Angami I Assembly constituency in the bye-election to be held on 29 July since he is not an elected member of the Nagaland Assembly. He was elected by party MLAs only when Zeliang, the then chief minister, was forced to resign due to mass movement against his leadership among the public nearly six months ago.

Updated Date: Jul 11, 2017 19:13 PM

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