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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Chief minister TR Zeliang wins trust vote in Nagaland Assembly

Zeliang was sworn-in on Wednesday replacing Shurhozelie Liezietsu.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2017 17:21 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
A file photo of TR Zeliang who was sworn-in as the new chief minister of Nagaland by Governor PB Acharya in Kohima on Wednesday.
A file photo of TR Zeliang who was sworn-in as the new chief minister of Nagaland by Governor PB Acharya in Kohima on Wednesday. (PTI)

Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang, who was sworn in two days ago, won the trust vote in the assembly on Friday.

He won it by 47 votes to 11 in the 60-member House that has an effective strength of 59.

The MLAs who voted for Zeliang included 36 from his party Naga People’s Front (NPF), seven independent legislators and four from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Speaker Imtiwapang Aier did not take part in the voting.

Governor PB Acharya had appointed Zeliang as chief minister on Wednesday, less than five hours after dismissing his predecessor Shurhozelie Liezietsu who skipped a special session of the assembly when summoned to prove his majority.

Shurhozelie (80) was told to go for the floor test after Zeliang, backed by the written support of 34 party MLAs, had staked claim to power on July 9. Shurhozelie and 10 other NPF legislators in his camp did not turn up as they reportedly had to attend a funeral.

Zeliang said his predecessor avoided the floor test as he did not have the numbers with him.

“The floor test result is unethical as Zeliang was expelled by our party, which had issue a whip to stand by the party decision. We will challenge it in court,” an MLA in Shurhozelie’s camp said from state capital Kohima.

Zeliang was expelled 15 minutes after he was sworn in on July 19. It virtually made him a chief minister unattached or without a party. Similar disciplinary action is likely against several other NPF MLAs who backed Zeliang, a pro-Shurhozelie member of the party said.

With around nine months left for Nagaland to go to elections, Zeliang’s a problem of plenty is expected to give him a tough time while inducting the MLAs into his ministry.

Zeliang can at most induct 12 MLAs. But he has to keep in good humour some dozen MLAs from the camp of MP and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio, a friend-turned-foe-turned-friend, the independents and legislators from BJP.

The BJP’s status as a constituent in the NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government is unclear after the anti-Zeliang camp – calling itself the “real NPF” – severed ties with the saffron party.

Given the tendency in Nagaland to go with the tide, speculations are that a few MLAs from Shurhozelie camp might also cross over.

Zeliang was forced to resign in February this year after violent protests by tribal organisations, which were against 33% reservation for women in civic elections. His government revoked the quota decision but the NGOs did not relent until he resigned.

The NPF opted for the “politically-retired” Shurhozelie to hold fort reportedly for “two-three months”, by which time the anger would have subsided for Zeliang to return.

This is Zeliang’s second term as chief minister. He occupied the hot seat for the first time in May 2014 after Rio resigned to contest the Lok Sabha elections. Rio made two unsuccessful bids later to dislodge Zeliang, but the two patched up to dethrone Shurhozelie instead.


First Published: Jul 21, 2017 17:01 IST

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