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Zeliang faces twin problems

Kohima, May 30: Nagaland chief minister T.R. Zeliang is caught in a difficult situation having to appease NPF legislators unhappy with their portfolios and managing a financial crunch.

The chief minister has admitted that the state’s coffers are empty and the Centre is unlikely to bail out Nagaland unless its austerity measures are improved.

Zeliang is hopeful of funds from the Centre but he said his government would also make all-out efforts to mobilise internal resources. He said the government has to stop begging from New Delhi for funds and start mobilising its own resources, particularly exploring the mineral wealth.

On the other hand, Zeliang is facing the problem of peeved legislators who wanted plum portfolios but were left disappointed.

While the chief minister seems to have been influenced by certain quarters over the distribution of portfolios, it was certain he could not satisfy all MLAs and hence, he is now faced with quelling possible dissidence.

According to sources, Zeliang had a one-to-one meeting with his peeved ministers and parliamentary secretaries. A source said some cabinet ministers were not satisfied with their portfolios and wanted the chief minister to either change them or add more departments. Sources did not rule out distribution of departments to some parliamentary secretaries and ministers. There are about 80 departments in the state. Zeliang is also likely to appoint other MLAs as advisers and chairmen of some departments.

He has already appointed 24 parliamentary secretaries and 12 cabinet ministers.

The NPF-led DAN government has 38 NPF legislators, four NCP, one each BJP and JD (U) MLAs and eight Independents in the 60-member House.