The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) elected Naga People’s Front (NPF) president Shurhozelie Liezietsu as the next chief minister of Nagaland on Monday.
Shurhozelie was elected after Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang resigned on Sunday night bowing to the demands of protesting tribal groups opposed to his move to hold civic polls with 33 per cent reservation for women.
The 42 of the 49 legislators unanimously supported Shurhozelie as their new legislature party leader to break the deadlock between the agitating tribal groups and the government.
Former chief minister and Nagaland’s sole Lok Sabha member Neiphiu Rio, who had tried to topple Zeliang in 2015, was said to be a front-runner for the CM’s post.
NPF is the major constituent of DAN with 48 legislators in the 60-member Nagaland assembly that has no opposition. The other MLAs – eight independents and four of BJP – are in the alliance.
Shurhozelie has been elected to the Nagaland assembly eight times from Northern Angami assembly constituency. After retaining his Northern Angami-I assembly seat in 2008, Liezietsu decided not to contest the 2013 polls and let his son Khriehu contest instead. Khriehu was later made the parliamentary secretary of youth resources and sports, Music Task Force and state lottery. Khriehu, 51, might give up the Northern Angami-I to let his father be re-elected.
For more than two weeks, the government machinery in Nagaland has been in a state of limbo following an indefinite shutdown.
Nagaland has been in turmoil since January after the NPF-led government decided to hold local body elections in 12 towns across the state. Three persons were killed following clashes between police and civilians.
The NGOs had last week asked the NPF legislators to either ensure Zeliang’s ouster or face boycott when the next assembly election is held in 2018. Liezietsu is expected to meet governor PB Acharya soon for the formality.