GUWAHATI: Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang today proved majority on the floor of the state's Assembly, He won 47 of the 58 votes. In the 60-member House, that has an effective strength of 59, following the resignation of an MLA, the speaker did not take part in the voting.
Governor PB Acharya appointed Zeliang as the chief minister within hours after dismissing his predecessor Shurhozelie Liezietsu on Wednesday. Liezietsu was dismissed for skipping the vote of confidence ordered by the governor.
The octogenarian Liezietsu was asked to prove his majority after Zeliang, backed by the written support of 34 MLAs, staked claim to power. Zeliang said Liezietsu avoided the floor test as he did not have enough numbers to win it. The MLAs belonging to Liezietsu’s camp also did not turn up for the trust vote.
However, a few minutes after being sworn in as Nagaland’s 19th CM on Wednesday, Zeliang was expelled by his Naga People’s Front (NPF). He was banned for six years by the party. The expulsion virtually made him a CM unattached or without a party. A similar action is likely against other NPF MLAs, who backed Zeliang.
With around nine months left for Nagaland to go to elections, Zeliang’s maiden challenge will be over the induction of MLAs into his ministry. He can at best induct 12 MLAs but he has a problem of plenty – there are the independents, MLAs from the camp of former CM Neiphiu Rio, legislators from the BJP, the NPF and the list goes on.
Also, it is hard to foresee how the tribal organizations in the state would respond to his chief-ministership. Zeliang was forced to resign in February this year in the following violent protests by some tribal organizations against the 33 per cent reservation for women in civic elections brought by his government. Faced with unrest, Zeliang revoked the decision on quota. However, by then it was too late and they had started demanding his ouster. He eventually had to quit.
Zeliang first donned the mantle of chief minister in 2014 when the then CM Neiphiu Rio resigned to contest the Lok Sabha elections.