Constitutionally speaking, DAN still maintains majority in Nagaland Legislative Assembly with its leader, T. R. Zeliang, as Chief Minister. It is also not surprising to see the NPF’s desperate manoeuvring attempts to reconsider the suspension of its seven elected members in order to maintain its majority in the Legislative Assembly. No doubt, the ruling coalition can change leader (Chief Minister), which has to be resolved within the ruling party (DAN) and not in the Legislative Assembly floor or through intervention of the Governor or the Prime Minister. DAN has to take a consensus on leadership and simply submit the name to the Governor followed by a Swearing-in Ceremony of the new Chief Minister. A resenting group from within DAN meeting the Governor of Nagaland and the Prime Minister does not have any constitutional relevance.
Following the present crisis, if some MLAs of the ruling coalition (DAN) resign from party along with the suspended members, it may lose its majority in the Legislative Assembly after a test of strength of DAN in the floor of Legislative Assembly. The next permissible constitutional step of the Governor is to invite the opposition to stake claim to from new government and show majority in the floor of Assembly. However, the present opposition party, Congress, with insignificant number of MLAs will not be able to do so. In that case of Hung Assembly, where no party is able to show majority to from government, the Legislative Assembly will be dissolved for a fresh election. Till such times, the Governor can propose to the Centre to impose President’s Rule on grounds of ‘Breakdown of Constitutional Machinery’.
There are also two other grounds on which President’s Rule can be imposed – Financial Crisis and Law and Order break down. The present debt of Nagaland Government has not been caused by non allocation of funds by the centre. It has been caused majorly by misappropriation of public funds and non-planned appointments – valid as well as illicit. Till public funds of developmental works remain ‘pocket money’ of ministers and bureaucrats (excepting few), public services will slacken; infrastructure will depreciate and labour force of the state will diminish. So long as jobs are ‘distributed’ by ministers, the government offices will be peopled majorly by unintelligent and unskilled workers. This financial mess and impending financial crisis cannot be solved by any of the existing leader or political party. Whether or not DAN government is able to sustain majority and change its Leader in the Legislative Assembly, the government of Nagaland is heading towards a financial breakdown and hence, financial emergency.
There is also a tendency of impending law and order break down in Nagaland. With restrained financial flow into the state and public agencies tightening its grip on illegal taxation, the Naga underground government and factions will start to ‘starve’ which will lead to extortion and other criminal activities. It is possible for our police force to manage and control criminals but so long as Nagaland political and Naga underground leaders maintain relationship, our police force and army will remain handicapped.
Nagaland has cultured certain discursive and corrupted practices over the decades. Nagaland requires a prolonged strenuous training and disciplining to mend its corrupt ways and emerge as a viable state. It can best be ensured through a minimum of 5 years Presidents’ Rule to streamline constitutional procedures; generate resources from within the state; exploit natural and human resources; nurture honesty and hard work and develop work culture.
(The writer Dr. Walunir is Assistant Professor & Coordinator, Amity Institute of English Studies and Research, Amity University)