Hinting at a hidden hand behind the ongoing protests in Nagaland, Chief Minister T. R. Zeliang on Tuesday said the protesters are being used politically by persons with vested interests.
Zeliang said while his government had already given in to the demands of the protesters by "declaring the urban local body polls held in some areas as null and voida" the protests should not have continued in Kohima and Dimapur thereafter.
"If the issue of 33 per cent reservation for women in urban local bodies and Article 371A of the Constitution are a non - issue now and my resignation seems to be the only issue, there must be something political to it.
I think it is purely political in nature and I suspect some organisations are being misused by some sections with vested political interests, " Zeliang said at a press conference here.
The Chief Minister said there is no question of his resignation as he has the support of all 58 legislators in the house of 60 "excluding himself and the Speaker".
"There is no reason why I should step down.
The Supreme Court had made it very clear in the S. R. Bommai case that the majority or minority support a Chief Minister enjoys can only be determined on the assembly floor.
And till date, not a single MLA has withdrawn support to my leadership, " Zeliang said.
"The assembly floor is the only place to decide whether a Chief Minister should continue or step down and not through protests or violence on the streets, " he added.
He said if the state government and all the stakeholders cannot arrive at an amicable resolution of this issue at the earliest, the best option appears to be to seek exemption of Nagaland from Part - IXA of the Constitution, which contains a mandatory provision under Article 243T for 33 per cent reservation for women in local bodies, which will put to rest the issue and avoid further misunderstanding among the people.
Meanwhile, the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee, spearheading the protests, on Tuesday decided to continue with his resignation by owning moral responsibility for the death of two youths over the reservation protests last week in Dimapur.
The organisation also set a fresh deadline of three days from Wednesday for the Chief Minister's resignation and that the local body elections in Nagaland cannot be held until and unless amendments are made in the Nagaland Municipal Act, 2001, by safeguarding the powers conferred under Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India.