Kohima: Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang on Tuesday faced an open rebellion with dissident NPF legislators claiming they have elected a new leader following which he sacked two ministers who were also suspended with five other MLAs from primary membership of ruling Naga People's Front.
More than 20 of 38 NPF dissident legislators, who are demanding change in state leadership, met at Dimapur last evening and unanimously elected Industries and Commerce Ministers G Kaito Aye as the new leader of the NPF Legislature Party and "empowered him to form the new government", NPF legislature party spokesmen Imkong L Imchen said in a statement.
Cracking the whip on dissidents, Zeliang sacked Aye and Roads and Bridges Minister Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu. They were also suspended along with five other MLAs from primary membership of ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) for allegedly "conspiring to overthrow" the NPF-led government in Nagaland.
"Industries and Commerce Minister G Kaito Aye and Roads and Bridges Minister Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu were removed by Chief Minister T R Zeliang last night," an official statement said today.
The chief minister also removed five NPF legislators and one Independent MLA from the post of parliamentary secretaries, it said.
They were Zhaleo Rio, Pukhayi, Pohwang Konyak, Shetoyi and Tovihoto Ayemi (all NPF) and Thomas Ngullie (IND).
Simultaneously, party President Shurhozelie Liezietsu suspended all the seven legislators including the two ministers from the primary membership of the party for committing serious breach of discipline, a party statement said.
Liezietsu said that after election of then Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio to the Lok Sabha in May 2014 polls, the current Chief Minister TR Zeliang was unanimously chosen to lead the state and all members of the party ought to repose utmost trust in him for the continued success of the party and the government.
The seven members, he alleged, had been sabotaging the leadership of T R Zeliang, and also conspiring to overthrow the legitimate government in the state.
He also notified that the suspended members would have no participatory or voting rights in all political/legislature party forums.
Expressing utmost concern for the unity of the NPF, the NPFLP spokesman, meanwhile, made it clear that the present exercise was not anti-party in any manner, but only a move for change in leadership within the democratic norms.
They also appealed to the NPF workers at all levels to remain calm and remain united in the greater interest of the party, while also assuring that the present move was not aimed at damaging the aspirations, vision and principles of the party.
"We have trust and faith in the democratic foundations of the party and we are confident that democracy will be allowed to prevail," Imchen said.
NPF has 38 MLAs in a 60-member House.