Embattled Nagaland chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu will face a floor test at a special session of the state assembly on Wednesday, after the Gauhati High Court dismissed his plea to stay the Governor's directive to him to seek a trust vote.
Governor PB Acharya directed Speaker Imtiwapang to summon an emergent special session of the state assembly at 9.30 am for the chief minister, who is facing a rebellion from his party MLAs, to seek the confidence vote.
Justice LM Jamir, judge of Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court, had dismissed earlier in the day a writ petition filed by Liezietsu, pleading for a stay on the governor's directive to him to seek a vote of confidence in the assembly by 15 July.
The court while stating there was no merit in the petition vacated its interim order staying the directive and left the matter to the discretion of the governor.
“This court is of the considered opinion that the governor had taken the right decision to ask the petitioner (Liezietsu) to seek a vote of confidence in the floor of the House to see which out of the two contesting claimants of chief ministership has a majority in the House,” the court observed.
The court also maintained that it has no reasons to interfere with the governor’s letter to the chief minister on the matter.
Dismissing the petition, the court said, "The matter is left to the wisdom of the governor to take a decision on the same after proper application of mind."
The chief minister had filed the petition on 14 July and the court had issued an interim order staying the governor's directive till yesterday so that the matter could be taken up for hearing.
Acharya had on 11 and 13 July directed Liezietsu, who is facing rebellion by 43 ruling Naga Peoples Front MLAs led by former chief minister TR Zeliang demanding change of leadership in the present house of 59, to seek vote of confidence on or before 15 July.
Zeliang, who was forced out of office in February following large scale protests over holding of urban local bodies election with 33 percent reservation for women, had staked claim to form the government saying he had majority support in the House.
NPF slams Acharya
In a NPF emergency meeting, Lieziestsu questioned the neutrality of the governor, who "misused, abused and tarnished Raj Bhawan" to favour rebellion within the NPF to enhance the BJP's political fortunes in the state. The NPF also resolved to appeal to Aier to act with propriety and impartiality.
Government spokesperson Yitachu also told IANS that they would appeal in the Supreme Court, as it is "an internal matter within the NPF party and the matter should be resolved outside the floor of the House".
Asked if the chief minister would step down to pave way for his predecessor Zeliang to return to power, he ruled it out, asserting: "We will not allow these unconstitutional activities to take place in Nagaland."
BJP backs Zeliang
Meanwhile, Zeliang called for Liezietsu's "minority government" to step down honourably.
"I am prepared to get to the government through the democratic means of a floor test, so that the unity within the rank and file of the party is firmly secured," he said.
Meanwhile, four BJP legislators and Nagaland BJP president Visasolie Lhoungu on Tuesday called on the governor and submitted a letter supporting Zeliang. BJP is a pre-poll alliance partner of the Naga People's Front and a constituent of the Democratic Aalliance of Nagaland (DAN) government in the state.
The legislators in their letter to the governor said, "BJP has been a constituent of the DAN and continues to remain a part of the arrangement till date." However, they said that in the present political crisis in the state government, the BJP has decided to be with the DAN group led by Zeliang.
The four BJP legislators are Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation, Paiwang Konyak, Advisor for Treasury and Accounts, Labour and Employment T M Lotha, Advisor for Cooperation Imtilemba Sangtam and MLA and Chief Whip of BJP Mmhonlumo Kikon.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 19, 2017 07:50 AM