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NPF faces more crises

Kohima, May 28: Nagaland chief minister T.R. Zeliang’s Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government was expected to face more crisis from dissidents after five senior cabinet ministers were removed last week.

Naga People’s Front (NPF) insiders did not rule out the crisis deepening in the party after the induction of more parliamentary secretaries on May 29.

The NPF is the largest constituent of the ruling DAN, which has one each BJP and JD (U), eight Independents and four NCP. The NPF has 38 legislators. So far, Zeliang has removed five cabinet ministers and inducted five new faces.

All five axed ministers have opposed the leadership of Zeliang while there was a tussle for the chief minister’s post prior to the departure of Rio to New Delhi.

The NPF office at Longleng has been ransacked by the supporters of former minister for industries and commerce Pangnyu Phom and party office at Mokokchung has been locked by the supporters of former health minister Imkong L. Imchen and former minister for sports and youth resource Merentoshi R. Jamir.

The NPF Mokokchung division has issued an ultimatum to the NPF president to explain why the two ministers were dropped from the council of ministers.

Imchen was a not only instrumental in strengthening the party in Mokokchung district but of late he has become a force to be reckon. Merentoshi is the son of chief secretary Banuo Z. Jami who he had made his debut in state elections in 2013 and was awarded with a cabinet berth.

Two-time NPF legislators and parliamentary secretary for mechanical engineering and national highways Nuklutoshi Ao and a first-time parliamentary secretary for agriculture Benjongliba Ao from Mokokchung were elevated to cabinet ministers.

NPF sources said the crisis was likely to deepen after the induction of parliamentary secretaries. There are 21 parliamentary secretaries and that the chief minister might induct more from Independents and the NCP.

But Zeliang is unlikely to drop some parliamentary secretaries in view of the fragile situation in the party, a source said.

CMO sources said Zeliang was busy consulting his trusted cabinet ministers for allocation of portfolios to parliamentary secretaries. “The chief minister may not drop any parliamentary secretary,” a source said.

NPF party sources said earlier the party had agreed to maintain a status quo but the new chief minister had to axe five cabinet ministers, which sparked the crisis.