Zeliang resigns, backs Neiphiu Rio as new Nagaland CM
NPF’s TR Zeliang says his party will play the role of ‘constructive opposition’; Neiphiu Rio to take oath as Nagaland chief minister for the fourth time on March 8.Updated: Mar 06, 2018 19:15 IST
Senior Naga People’s Front leader TR Zeliang submitted his resignation letter to the governor on Tuesday, backing NDPP’s Neiphiu Rio as the new chief minister of Nagaland, putting an end to speculation of an impending constitutional crisis.
Zeliang said his party will play the role of a “constructive opposition”.
Neiphiu Rio, who has been elected as the leader of the BJP-Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party-led alliance government, will take oath for the fourth time (2003-08, 2008-13, 2013-14) as chief minister on March 8. Home minister Rajnath Singh is expected to attend the ceremony.
“(The) BJP submitted (the) letter of support from 12 MLAs to (the) governor supporting NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio as chief ministerial candidate of Nagaland,” Union minister JP Nadda, who is also the BJP’s central observer for Nagaland, said.
The BJP-NDPP alliance has garnered the support of the two MLAs to take their tally to 32 in the 60-member Nagaland House.
BJP won 12 seats while the NDPP secured 18 in the just-concluded elections.
In a statement on Monday, the NPF had claimed that since governor has given 48 hours to prove the support of majority, there was no question of Zeliang resigning.
The NPF, meanwhile, was also hopeful that the BJP, its old ally, would dump its new friend — the NDPP — for a more stable government since the NPF had the numbers with 26 MLAs in the new Assembly.
The NPF had also claimed that it was in discussions with the BJP. But there was no indication from the BJP that it wanted to break away with its pre-poll alliance partner, the NDPP. Instead, the BJP leaders, including Assam cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma gave statements that Zeliang should resign gracefully, respecting democratic norms.
Zeliang, meanwhile, at a press conference announcing his resignation, invoked the ongoing Naga peace talks.
“A durable peace in the state may be possible under a united aegis in the Assembly,” he said. The outgoing chief minister then went on to add that the way electorate in Nagaland has given 26 seats to the NPF, “is a factor that has to be taken into account in all political processes including those of development and peace in Nagaland.”
Zeliang says he had communicated this to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah on March 3, the day Nagaland election results were declared.