Nagaland's Outgoing CM TR Zeliang Refuses to Step Down

Prime Minister Narendra Modi| File PTI

Set to assume office in the state is an alliance comprising former chief minister Neiphiu Rio's Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (16 MLAs) and BJP (12), with the support of two MLAs of the National People's Party, the lone MLA of the Janata Dal (United) and Independent Tongpang Ozukum. The Governor also asked Rio to submit the supporting signatures of all the 32 MLAs by Monday.

The announcement comes as a major setback for the NPF led by it chief ministerial candidate TR Zeliang who have been harboring hopes that the BJP might ditch NDPP to form the new ministry.

Meanwhile, NDPP-BJP CM designate candidate Neiphiu Rio will be swearing in as the new Nagaland CM on March 8 in Kohima.

While the National People's Party (NPP) is gaining spotlight in the regional and national media for its ability to dethrone the Congress and form the government in Meghalaya besides being a coalition partner of the BJP at the centre and Manipur, the party, however, is taking a back seat in as far as Nagaland is concerned.

When asked how NDPP-BJP was going to run the Government in Nagaland when they won only 30 seats, Sarma disclosed that they already had the support of one JDU MLA and another Independent and that formed the simple majority qualifying to form the Government in Nagaland.

Voting for the 59 seats in the 60-member Assembly was held on February 27 as NDPP chief Neiphiu Rio was elected uncontested from Northern Angami II seat.

NPF president Shürhozelie Liezietsu too has written to Shah informing him of the party's eagerness to continue its alliance with the BJP.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with its unprecedented performance in Nagaland Assembly elections has emerged as both the king and the kingmaker.

Though the letter doesn't mention it, top sources in both the NPF and the NPP told The Wire from Kohima that both the parties "would likely pull out of the BJP-led coalition in Manipur if it goes with NDPP".

In the last Assembly election in 2013, Zeliang had won the seat by a margin of 2,636 votes.

The BJP, which was in alliance with Zeliang's NPF over the past 15 years, broke away after failing to reach a pre-poll agreement before the elections.

"Rio is a seasoned politician and having good relationships with many leaders in the North East and he will be able to provide a stable Government in Nagaland", Sarma said.

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