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Zeliang plans more changes

Kohima, May 25: Nagaland chief minister T.R. Zeliang is likely to change the existing number of parliamentary secretaries.

The chief minister has hinted that some secretaries may be axed and the composition will include old and new faces. “We may either increase the number of parliamentary secretaries or reduce the number,” Zeliang said today.

In the last government led by Neiphiu Rio, there were 21 parliamentary secretaries. Parliamentary secretaries who had opposed Zeliang succeeding Rio are likely to be axed, after he dropped five senior ministers from the new cabinet.

He said parliamentary secretaries would be sworn in within a couple of days, after he returns from New Delhi, where he has gone to attend the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, along with his trusted ministers Khuzoluzo Nienu and Y. Patton. Zeliang is expected to return on Tuesday.

Former home minister and NCP legislator T.M. Lotha said members from his party are likely to be inducted as parliamentary secretaries. A source said at least two NCP MLAs would be inducted as parliamentary secretaries.

On the other hand, the dropping of five ministers is likely to create a rift in the NPF. Minister for health and family welfare Imkong L. Imchen, minister for school education C.M. Chang, minister for industries and commerce Pangyu Phom, tourism minister E.E. Panteang and minister for sports and youth resources Merentoshi R. Jamir, were dropped from the new cabinet formed on Saturday.

Sources said dropping of more NPF lawmakers might even cost Zeliang in the future.

Zeliang is also facing the problem of awarding those MLAs who had supported him to be the next chief minister. Key departments like planning and coordination and school education are yet to be distributed. Sources said any mistake in distributing portfolios might deepen the rift in the NPF.

But it must be noted that Zeliang left out a few prominent NPF legislators in the new cabinet. Three-time NPF legislators Yitachu, who was the parliamentary secretary in the veterinary and animal husbandry department, and Naba Konyak, who was the adviser to the development of underdeveloped areas department, were left out.


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