NPF selects party chief Liezitsu to lead Nagaland amid crisis

RSTV Bureau
FILE: Protesters burn effigy of Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang, Nagaland Home Minister Y Patton, NPF President Shürhozelie and Nagaland IRB personnel during a protest against killing of two youth by security personnel last month, in Dimapur, Nagaland on 07 February 2017.

FILE: Protesters burn effigy of Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang, Nagaland Home Minister Y Patton, NPF President Shürhozelie and Nagaland IRB personnel during a protest against killing of two youth by security personnel last month, in Dimapur, Nagaland on 07 February 2017.

The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland has selected Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) chief Shurhozelie Liezitsu as consensus candidate for the post of Chief Minister. Liezitsu will be sworn in on February 22, told the party sources.

On Sunday, the sitting Chief Minister TR Zeliang submitted resignation after party legislators withdrew their support to break the deadlock between agitating tribal groups seeking his resignation and the government.

The far north-eastern state has been rocked by widespread protests since last month, triggered by the state government decision to reserve 33 percent seats for women in urban local bodies, among other issues.

Accepted Zeliang’s resignation, Nagaland Governor PB Acharya asked him to continue till further arrangements were made.

New Delhi: File photo of former Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: File photo of former Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang.
Photo – PTI

Earlier, former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was reported to be the frontrunner as he was tipped to have enjoyed the support of 49 out of 60 MLAs. The incumbent Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) has been ruling the state since March 2003.

In the last assembly polls in May 2014, NPF had retained power though the then Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had given way to TR Zeliang.

Since January, Zeliang government faced widespread protests, among other issue, on the subject of reserving 33 percent seats for women in Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections and suspending the police and security personnel involved in January 31 firing on the protesters leading to the death of two youths in Diampur .

Although the state government had fulfilled the agitating tribal bodies’ demand of declaring the elections null and void, Zeliang has been under fire for his handling of the protests and the violence that followed.