It is said that Khriehu, 51, may give up the Northern Angami-I seat to let his father be re-elected.
Guwahati: The ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) on Monday elected Naga Peoples’ Front president Shurhozelie Liezietsu, 81, as the new chief minister of Nagaland. The state’s senior-most MLA will replace T.R. Zeliang.
Mr Zeliang had stepped down on Sunday following pressure from tribal organisations who were against his decision to hold civic body polls with 33 per cent reservation for women.
Tribal leaders of Nagaland Tribal Action Committee (NTAC) and Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) were spearheading the agitation which has paralysed the state machinery for the past 24-days.
Though a delegation led by Mr Liezietsu on Monday visited Raj Bhawan and staked claim to form the government, governor P.B. Acharya is yet to invite them to form the government. Sources close to Raj Bhawan said that Mr Acharya is waiting for the withdrawal of the agitation by NTAC and JCC before taking a decision.
Highly placed sources in Kohima said that BJP central leadership wanted to go with NPF’s choice instead of forcing a leader of their choice. Pointing out that NPF is expected to win some seats in the hill areas of neighbouring Manipur, where polling is due on March 4 and 8, sources said that the BJP, anticipating the need for NPF’s support in case they get the opportunity to form the government in Manipur, didn’t want to strain their relationship with NPF by backing Neiphiu Rio, Nagaland’s lone Lok Sabha MP. Mr Rio was the BJP’s choice for chief minister.
Mr Rio, who was camping in Kohima, refused to comment, but his supporters indicated that he was in touch with legislators and transition of power may not be very smooth for Mr Liezietsu.
Eight Independent and four BJP MLAs are part of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government in which NPF is the major constituent with 48 legislators. There is no Opposition in the 60-member Nagaland Assembly.
K.G. Kenye, the Rajya Sabha MP from Nagaland who played a key role in mustering support for Mr Liezietsu, said, “Nagaland at this juncture needs to be guided by an experienced leader like Liezietsu.”
Regarded as a scholar, Mr Liezietsu will have to get elected to the Assembly within six months of taking charge as Nagaland’s 11th chief minister.
After retaining his Northern Angami-I Assembly seat in 2008, Mr Liezietsu had decided not to contest the 2013 polls, instead letting his son, Khriehu Liezietsu, contest in his place. Khriehu won and went on to become the parliamentary secretary of youth resources and sports, Music Task Force and state lottery. It is said that Khriehu, 51, may give up the Northern Angami-I seat to let his father be re-elected.
Mr Liezietsu was first elected to the Nagaland Assembly in 2003 and went on to become minister for urban development. Higher and technical education was added to his portfolio after he won the 2008 election.