BJP wants more, NPF claims it has solution

BJP wants more, NPF claims  it has solution

Dimapur, March14: If people feel that Nagaland’s politics is on the way to stability, there is news.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators in the Neiphiu Rio-led Government are apparently unhappy. Yes, despite the portfolios including a deputy chief minister, home, national highways et al.
“On Saturday when BJP general secretary Ram Madhav came to Nagaland, he did not even meet BJP MLAs except Rio and Y. Patton,” sources told Nagaland Page.
Apparently, Madhav and Rio’s chemistry is raising eyebrows among other central leaders in the BJP.
Here, the BJP legislators are demanding more portfolios and eyeing some carrots dangled by former chief minister TR Zeliang. BJP won 12 seats and has six Cabinet ministers (including Deputy Chief Minister) leaving out six other achievers who also want a share of the pie.
Zeliang is occupied with preparing answers for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) during its questioning scheduled on March 17. But he is said to have deputed a trusted lieutenant from NPF to carry on discussion with the discontented BJP members.
“BJP leaders may go to Delhi and tell Amit Shah that they would join NPF,” said a source.
How can Rio satisfy all in wake of a Supreme Court judgement which expressly disallows parliamentary secretaries beyond the 12 ministers including the Chief Minister? The 10th Schedule of the Constitution rules that the size of the council of ministers cannot be 15 percent of the total seats and in case of smaller states the size is limited to 12 ministers including the chief minister. A Supreme Court ruling this year has validated this and in neighbouring Manipur, the appointment of parliamentary secretaries is challenged by two Congress legislators in the High Court.
Rio seemed to have been short of time for preparations for this expected problem, but NPF was not.
“The NPF has hinted a solution in its manifesto,” said a source.
“We said that revenue-generating departments would be turned into corporations,” the source added.
In other words, legislators who would not become ministers would head corporations where there are funds to handle. This could be a solution Rio may have to fall back on eventually but the NPF is understood to have already shown this model to the discontented BJP MLAs.
Indeed if Zeliang is able to carry out his plans, Nagaland could again plunge into a political crisis and change of guard. Clarity on the situation will be achieved over the next few days.
For now, Rio along with Patton and BJP state unit chief Visasolie Lhoungu have left for Delhi to sit with top BJP leaders. Zeliang would leave for Delhi to meet top brass in NIA for totally different reasons. Yet again, he may be followed by BJP legislators to Delhi for their complaining to Shah to demand more portfolios.
“They need portfolios to cover their election expenses,” a source added cryptically. (Page News Service)