Shurhozeilie to take oath as Nagaland CM on Wednesday

He was elected head of NPF legislature party after CM Zeliang resigned bowing to the demands of protesting tribal groups opposed to his move to hold civic polls with 33 per cent reservation for women.

Published: 20th February 2017 09:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th February 2017 09:05 PM   |  A+A-

Shurhozelie Liezietsu (File photo)

Express News Service

IMPHAL: Ending days of speculation and uncertainty, MLAs of Nagaland’s ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) on Monday chose Shurhozelie Liezietsu as the next chief minister. He will take oath on Wednesday.

DAN legislators unanimously elected him to don the post of CM soon after he was elected the leader of NPF Legislature Party. An NPF insider told Express that 58 MLAs in the 60-member House had signed in favour of Liezietsu.

He will be the state’s 11th person to be the CM, 17th overall. He is a scholar, a former minister and a founder member of NPF.

The 81-year-old Liezietsu will replace T R Zeliang, who stepped down on Sunday in the face of stepped up protests by some tribal organisations which called an indefinite bandh demanding his ouster for going ahead with civic elections with 33 per cent reservation of seats for women.

Other than Liezietsu, the name of Zeliang’s friend-turned-bête noire and three-time former chief minister Neiphiu Rio was doing the rounds for the CM’s post. Initially, over 40 MLAs, who had sneaked out of the state and lodged in resorts near Kaziranga in Assam last week, had pledged their support for Rio. But soon they changed their position and threw their weight behind the old guard Liezietsu. In 2015, Rio had made an abortive bid to topple the Zeliang government. Later, he and some other NPF MLAs were suspended by the party.

Nagaland’s lone Rajya Sabha member, KG Kenye, said: “Nagaland needs to be guided by an experienced leader like Liezietsu at this juncture”. It was Kenye who had pitched Liezietsu for the CM's post.

Liezietsu will have to seek re-election within six months of becoming CM. He had won the 2003 and 2008 elections but in 2013, he decided against contesting and made way for his son Khriehu, who is now a parliamentary secretary. There is a possibility that the 51-year-old Khriehu will resign to facilitate his father’s re-election.

Meanwhile, the CM-designate lauded Zeliang’s “supreme sacrifice” of vacating his chair.

“He has done this with a big heart and I want all to recognize this sacrifice,” Liezietsu said following his election as the leader of DAN legislature party.

“God willing and with the full support of all of you, I will do my best to see that we work together to bring back

normalcy to our land and society. A lot of damage has been done to the fair name of Nagaland and our economy has been adversely affected in the last few weeks. But I hope good sense will prevail so that people can come together and rebuild our society,” he said.

“I cannot do magic even if I take over but I have a strong feeling that together we can achieve our goal, together we can do it,” he said.

Congratulating Liezietsu, Zeliang expressed confidence that Nagaland would benefit from his leadership.

“I am confident that under his leadership, all issues will be smoothly solved and the people will benefit immensely,” Zeliang said.


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