Seven Nationa People’s Front (NPF) legislators who were in the group and purportedly owing allegiance to Chief Minister, T R Zeliang clarified on Thursday they were not part of any bid to topple the incumbent.
The clarification came on the heels after senior legislators that tried to herd around 16 legislators together at Hotel de Orient Kohima on Wednesday to form a lobby against the backdrop of ‘reconciliation’ between Nagaland Chief Minister, T R Zeliang and NPF president, Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu fell apart.
A statement issued on Thursday by seven NPF MLAs – Pukhayi Sumi, Deo Nukhu, Eshak Hessum, Phowang Konyak, Namri Nchang, Dr Benjongliba Aier and Dr Longriniken – denied media reports of any such move at the meeting held at Hotel de Oriental Grand in Kohima on Wednesday.
According to the legislators, they were informed that a meeting had been convened at Hotel de Oriental Grand by NPF president, Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu and that they were all supposed to attend the same without fail.
They said that they had turned up for the meeting in good faith, but were surprised to find the gate locked behind them once they had assembled inside and that their car keys were seized, thereby leaving them without any means to communicate with other people outside.
The MLAs said that after several hours they realized that Dr. Shürhozelie was not going to show up, alleging that the ‘whole tamasha was cooked up and orchestrated by Rajya Sabha MP, K G Kenye and some few senior members’.
They said afterwards, Kenye arrived followed by former Chief Minister and Lok Sabha MP, Neiphiu Rio, who addressed the gathering numbering around 16.
According to the MLAs, Kenye had informed them that both the MPs (he and Rio) had a meeting with Dr Shürhozelie the previous night for a change of guard.
They, however, said that they learnt to their dismay that ‘this was a total lie meant to sour the relations between Chief Minister Zeliang and Dr Shürhozelie’.
The MLAs also reiterated whatever decision the Chief Minister had taken was right and they continued to stand ‘firmly behind his dynamic leadership’. They also appealed to all members not to create such propaganda in the future.