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Zeliang quits as CM; MLAs to elect leader

Staff Reporter/Correspondent DIMAPUR/KOHIMA, FEB 19 (NPN)
Published on 20 Feb. 2017 12:14 AM IST
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Nagaland Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya accepted the resignation of T.R. Zeliang as chief minister of the state along with his council of minister, after he submitted it at Raj Bhavan on Sunday night.
After accepting the resignation, the Governor asked Zeliang and his council of ministers to continue till alternative arrangement was made. A communiqué issued by Raj Bhavan stated that Zeliang was accompanied by some of his cabinet colleagues. 
In another statement to the NPF Legislature party and DAN Legislature, T.R. Zeliang informed about his resignation and to select a new consensus leader to succeed him.
In this regard, he has called for an emergency meeting of the NPF legislature party at 10 a.m. Monday at State Banquet Hall followed by meeting of the DAN legislature party at 11 a.m. at the same venue. All NPF and DAN members have been requested to attend the meeting for selecting a consensus leader so as to ensure smooth transition of office.  
It was learnt that T.R. Zeliang had endorsed Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu to take over as the next chief minister. Later in the evening, Shürhozelie drove to the residence of chief minister T.R. Zeliang for a closed door meeting.  
T.R.Zeliang returned four days after he was asked to step down by 42 legislators on February 15 post-midnight. 
Zeliang was to have resigned the next day but instead air-dashed to Delhi the same day, while the state continued to reel under imposition of bandh to press for his resignation.
According to sources, BJP central leaders asked both T.R. Zeliang and Neiphiu Rio to bury their hatchet and work towards restoring normalcy in Nagaland in the interest of the Naga peace process.
 Zeliang was to have met with Rio and the legislators at Kaziranga on Saturday but did not show up.
With the state of political flux causing much anxiety, Zeliang’s prolonged absence since February 15 only added to the suspense.
On February 17, almost the entire DAN legislature of around 49 MLAs scrambled to Kaziranga  after learning that BJP central leaders had signalled their preference for Rio as the next chief minister. 
CMO on Delhi trip
 At Sunday afternoon’s meeting with several NPF legislators in the State Banquet Hall, chief minister T.R. Zeliang briefed them on his recent visit to Delhi. 
Zeliang said during the course of his meetings with Central leaders, he learnt that various reports submitted to the Central government sought for President’s Rule in Nagaland. 
He said besides the normal reports passed on to the Centre by the Governor, Intelligence Bureau, Assam Rifles and CRPF, there were reports submitted by NPCC and a retired Supreme Court judge recommending immediate imposition of President’s Rule citing breakdown of government machinery. 
CMO said Zeliang reportedly spoke against PR in view of adverse affect on solution to the Naga political issue. Zeliang also claimed that after he presented his case against PR, there “is little chance of PR being imposed in Nagaland.” 
Zeliang said central leaders and some groups in Delhi had told him that they received suggestions for Neiphiu Rio to return to state politics. Zeliang however told them that it could only be decided by NPF and alliance partners.
Central leaders for Rio
Political crisis within the ruling NPF might fizzle out with a likely ‘selection/election’ of party president Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsü as the next chief minister to replace incumbent T.R. Zeliang.
The BJP, which is the only party in alliance under DAN, finds itself in a situation. BJP sources said that the Central leaders wanted former CM and Lok Sabha MP, Neiphiu Rio as the alternative candidate for chief minister.
It was also disclosed that the BJP legislators were unlikely to attend the DAN meeting Monday at 11 a.m. where Dr. Shürhozelie would be elected as the next chief minister. 

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