Embattled Nagaland CM TR Zeliang steps down; Neiphiu Rio likely to replace him
Agitating tribal groups have been demanding the resignation of Zeliang over his decision to conduct civic bodies’ elections with 33 per cent reservation for women.india Updated: Feb 20, 2017 00:12 IST
Ending more than two weeks of standoff with Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC), Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang resigned from his post on Sunday evening.
The 64-year-old met Governor PB Acharya at the Raj Bhawan in Kohima and submitted his resignation, hours after he reached the state capital from Delhi.
Acharya accepted the resignation and asked Zeliang “to continue in office till alternative arrangements are made.” Nagaland’s lone Lok Sabha MP and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio is expected to be the next chief minister.
Earlier, in a letter to all MLAs of his Nagaland Peoples’ Front (NPF) and Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN), the coalition which he headed, the CM announced his decision to step down.
The letter released by Zeliang’s media cell did not elaborate on the reasons behind the move.
An emergency meeting of all NPF legislators would be held at the state banquet hall in Kohima on Monday morning where the new legislature party leader is expected to be elected.
This would be followed by a meeting of all DAN legislators. The coalition in Nagaland has 48 NPF MLAs, 4 from BJP and 8 Independents. There is no opposition in the 60-member assembly.
“All members are requested to attend the meeting so as to select a consensus leader to ensure smooth transition of office and to provide the best governance to the people of Nagaland,” Zeliang stated.
Zeliang had been under intense pressure to quit following an ultimatum given by the NTAC, an umbrella body of Nagaland’s 16 major tribes, which was seeking his ouster.
The tribal organizations blamed him for trying to hold municipal polls with 33% reservation for women and also the death and destruction that resulted because of opposition to the move.
Zeliang had left for New Delhi on Thursday in a last minute attempt to save his chair. He had also sought 2-3 days time from NTAC for a “smooth transition of office”.
But after he left, majority of the NPF’s 48 MLAs withdrew support to Zeliang and chose party president and DAN chairman Shurhozelie Liezietsu as the party’s leader in the 60-member assembly.
But in another roll of the dice on Friday, more than 40 MLAs left the state for a resort near Kaziranga National Park in Assam where they switched loyalties from Liezietsu to Rio.