Monday, February 20, 2017

Nagaland leader Shurhozelie Liezietsu Elected

Shurhozelie leader of the ruling Democratic Alliance.

20.02.2017 09:39:33 - Naga People’s Front leader Shurhozelie Liezietsu was on Monday elected the new legislature party leader of the ruling Democratic Alliance. 

( - Ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) Legislature Party will meet in Kohima this morning to elect a new leader following the resignation of Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang. He resigned following widespread protests in the state triggered by the government decision to reserve 33 per cent seats for women in urban local bodies.

A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office said Mr
Zeliang has stepped down and a consensus leader will be chosen at the NPF Legislature Party meeting. Neiphiu Rio, former Chief Minister and sole MP from the state, appears to be a front-runner for the Chief Ministership.
Governor PB Acharya accepted Zeliang’s resignation and asked him to continue till further arrangements are made. The NPF Legislature Party meeting will be followed by a meeting of Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) in Kohima.
In the 60-member Assembly, Mr Rio is said to be commanding the support of 49 MLAs, including eight Independents.

At least three MLAs, including Speaker Chotisuh Sazo, are with party President Shurhozelie Liezitsu. The BJP has four MLAs in the state.Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang on Sunday put in his papers to pave way for his successor to lead the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) coalition government. Zeliang, who arrived in Kohima on Sunday afternoon from New Delhi, accompanied by several of his senior Cabinet colleagues, submitted his resignation to the Governor of Nagaland P.B. Acharya.

Acharya accepted the resignation of Zeliang, but asked him “to continue in office till an alternative arrangement is made.” In the wake of Zeling’s announcement to conduct civic body elections with 33 per cent reservation for women, some tribal groups had been demanding his resignation.

Earlier in the evening, Zeliang called for an emergency meeting of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) legislature party on Monday at the state banquet hall, where a new leader is expected to be elected. This will be followed by a meeting of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland legislature party at the same venue.

Who will replace the embattled Chief Minster, as there is a division within the ruling Naga People’s Front legislators on Zeliang’s successor. Former Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio, who is the state’s Lok Sabha member, and Naga People’s Front supremo Shurhozelie Liezietsu are in the race for the top seat.

“As of now, we cannot say anything who is going to replace Zeliang. Everything will be clear today (Monday) at the NPF legislature party meeting,” a NPF legislator told IANS on condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday, 42 of the 49 legislators had unanimously supported Shurhozelie as their new legislature party leader to break the deadlock between the agitating tribal groups and the government. However, a group of nearly 20 legislators, including some Cabinet ministers, were against 81-year-old Shurhozelie as their legislature party leader and threw their weight behind Rio, the three-time Chief Minister.

On Saturday, 49 NPF and Independent legislators met Rio at Borgoch Resort, close to Assam’s Kaziranga National Park. The legislators extended their support to Rio. In the 60-member assembly, the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition government comprises 48 NPF legislators, including suspended legislator Imkong Imchen, four Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs and eight Independents.

Chief Minister has requested all members of the Legislature to attend Monday’s 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”.

Chief Minister said he had learned in the course of his interactions with various central leaders that several reports have been submitted to the government of India asking for imposition of President’s Rule in Nagaland.

“Besides normal and regular reports passed on to the central government from the Governor, the Intelligence Bureau, the Assam Rifles and the CRPF, there were reports submitted by the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee and a learned retired Supreme Court Judge recommending immediate imposition of central rule owing to, what they said, a breakdown of the government machinery,” Zeliang told the legislators.

“But I pointed out that Naga people cannot afford to have President’s Rule when the political talks are going ahead to solve the Naga political issue,” he said. Zeliang said that he can confidently assure the legislators that there is “little chance” of President’s Rule being imposed in Nagaland.

“To arrive at a consensus decision requires time, and so I have accordingly asked for a short period of time to be given,” he said. “The central leaders and some groups I met in Delhi told me they have received suggestions that Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio should come back to the state and take over the reins, but I made it clear to them that I can’t decide by myself in Delhi and that I have to consult the NPF legislators and the Alliance partners.

“I have told them that I shall take the suggestion back to Nagaland and let the legislators and the party decide,” the caretaker Chief Minister said.
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