Embattled Nagaland Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu will tomorrow face a floor test at a special session of the state assembly after the Gauhati High Court today dismissed his plea to stay the Governor’s directive to him to seek a trust vote. Governor P B Acharya today 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 L M 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 July 15.
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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 July 14 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 July 11 and July 13 directed Liezietsu, who is facing rebellion by 43 ruling Naga Peoples Front MLAs led by former chief minister T R Zeliang demanding change of leadership in the present house of 59, to seek vote of confidence on or before July 15. Zeliang, who was forced out of office in February following large scale protests over holding of urban local bodies election with 33 per cent reservation for women, had staked claim to form the government saying he had majority support in the House.
Meanwhile, four BJP legislators and Nagaland BJP president Visasolie Lhoungu today called on the governor and submitted a letter supporting T R 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.