GUWAHATI: Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang has resigned but the political and social unrest in the state is far from over.
Zeliang, 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."
“I, T R Zeliang…, have decided to step down from office. And to select a new consensus leader to succeed me, I hereby call for an emergency meeting of the NPF (Naga People’s Front) Legislature Party at 10 am tomorrow (Monday) at State Banquet Hall (in Kohima),” he said in a statement on Sunday evening.
The NPF Legislature Party meeting will be followed by a meeting of ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland Legislature Party at the same venue. DAN enjoys the support of all 60 members in the House - 48 from NPF, four from BJP and eight independents.
Zeliang requested the NPF MLAs to attend the legislature party meeting “to ensure smooth transition of office” but the process is likely to throw up more trouble. Former chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who is currently a member of the Lok Sabha, and NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu were in the race for chief minister’s post. But the MLAs are insisting on the appointment of a sitting member of the House as CM. Given their stand, tempers are likely to be frayed during Monday’s meetings.
Meanwhile, the MLAs, who had sneaked out of Kohima on Friday night and stayed in resorts near the wildlife of Kaziranga, some 200 km away in Assam allegedly at the behest of Rio, returned to Kohima on Sunday.
The political instability in the state was triggered by a social unrest after the Zeliang government had gone ahead with elections to civic bodies with 33 per cent reservation of seats for women. Some influential tribal organisations were opposed to the polls arguing that quota would infringe upon Article 371(A) of the Constitution which commits to protect Naga customary laws and rights. The Naga society is thoroughly patriarchal.
Earlier, the tribal organisations directed Zeliang to resign and set a deadline for it. When he refused to do so, they enforced an indefinite bandh. Subsequently, they directed the NPF MLAs to step down or face public boycott in next year’s election. It was then that the MLAs started looking for a substitute for Zeliang.
(With inputs from IANS)