Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio on Saturday carried out a minor reshuffle of portfolio as deputy chief minister Y. Patton, who holds charge of Home and Road & Bridges department, was divested of R&B.
Informing this in partial modification of the February 9, 2022 notification, cabinet secretary J. Alam said the chief minister has re-assigned portfolios of two advisors—H. Chuba Chang and KT Sukhalu.
Adviser H. Chuba Chang, who was holding charge of Justice & Law and SCERT, has been relieved from both departments and assigned the department of Road and Bridges. Adviser School Education, KT Sukhalu has been given additional charge of SCERT.
When contacted, deputy chief minister Y. Patton informed Nagaland Post that it was the prerogative of the chief minister to decide on portfolio allocation and did not wish to comment on it.
With reports doing the rounds that the change in portfolio allocation was in connection with the Rajya Sabha seat that was given to the BJP, Patton said the present development had nothing to do with it.
Patton clarified that it was a commitment made by NDPP in 2018 to support a BJP Rajya Sabha candidate in return for support extended to the NDPP candidate for the Lok Sabha.
This commitment was made in the presence of central BJP leaders, chief minister Neiphiu Rio and cabinet ministers in Delhi where NDPP had also agreed upon, Patton said.
It was learnt that Patton was in Guwahati, the nerve centre of the BJP in the North East, to meet Assam chief minister and NEDA chairman Himanta Biswa Sarma and other BJP leaders. It was not known whether his trip to Guwahati was in connection with the recent development.
Meanwhile, NDPP president Chingwang Konyak informed this Correspondent that the changes were made after due consultation with all concerned and leaders of the two parties including the State BJP president Imna Along, BJP national spokesperson and in-charge of Nagaland Nalin Kohli and also the deputy CM himself.
While not denying that there was a commitment made between the two parties in 2018– NDPP and BJP, to back each other’s candidate for the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha seats, NDPP president Chingwang Konyak, however, told this Correspondent that despite his party being a major stakeholder, the portfolio distribution was not proportionate.
When some BJP legislators were contacted to comment on the issue, it was learnt that they were not consulted on such matters.