Ending three weeks of violence, strikes and political upheaval, Nagaland Peoples’ Front (NPF) president Shurhozelie Liezietsu took charge as the 11th chief minister of Nagaland on Wednesday.
The 81-year-old was administered oath of office and secrecy by Governor PB Acharya at a function in the Kohima Raj Bhawan.
Liezietsu’s elevation to the top post came after his predecessor TR Zeliang resigned on Sunday following violent protests by tribal organizations against elections to municipal bodies with 33% reservation for women.
The veteran politician will be heading the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government, of which Bharatiya Janata Party is also a part.
Eleven ministers, 26 parliamentary secretaries and six advisors were also appointed on Wednesday.
Since he is not a member of the assembly, Liezietsu will have to get elected within the next six months. It is expected he will contest from Northern Angami-1 seat, which he vacated in 2013 in favour of his eldest son Khriehu.
An eight times MLA, Liezietsu started electoral politics in 1969 and have been a minister in several past governments.
An eminent linguist and author with over 40 books in his name, he has been a founding member of Nagaland’s first regional party, United Democratic Front. He also played crucial role in formation of Naga National Democratic Party and later NPF in 2002.
“I am absolutely certain that the experience, leadership qualities and statesmanship of our most respected and undisputed leader Dr. Shurhozelie shall take our party and the DAN government to greater heights,” Zeliang stated at a programme in Kohima.
Nagaland had witnessed unrest and strife over the Zeliang government’s decision to hold elections to urban local bodies (ULBs) with 33% seats reserved for women and opposition by tribal bodies to the move.
Though the elections were declared null and void due to violent protests, tribal organizations launched a statewide strike demanding Zeliang’s ouster. Liezietsu was unanimously elected as the leader of the DAN legislature party by 59 MLAs on Monday.
Following these developments, the tribal organizations have called off their strike and mobile internet services, which had been shut down for the past three weeks, have been restored.
An eminent scholar, he is one of the most decorated educationists in Angami (the native language of the Angami tribe) literature.
Liezietsu belongs to Angami tribe, one of the 16 major tribes in Nagaland.
President of Ura Academy, the state’s highest literary body, he was conferred an honorary D.Litt. by the Nagaland University in 2003.
After initial schooling in Mission Public School, Kohima, he did his matriculation in 1956 from Kohima Government High School and graduation from the prestigious St. Edmund’s College, Shillong.