Nagaland 2018

Zeliang, Rio given time to prove majority in Nagaland

Nagaland Governor P. B. Acharya. File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Nagaland Governor P.B. Acharya gave time to the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Bharatiya Janata Party-Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party formations to prove their majority as both staked claim to form the government.

T.R. Zeliang refused to resign as Chief Minister even as the BJP and its regional ally NDPP staked claim on Sunday.

The Election Commission on Saturday declared 29 seats for the NDPP-BJP combine and 30 for Mr. Zeliang’s NPF and two of its allies. But a tabulation error was rectified on Sunday, which led to the NPF losing the Tenning seat to NDPP.

Around noon, the three-time CM and former Lok Sabha member, Neiphiu Rio, and his team met the Governor with a list of 32 MLAs. A 16-member NPF team led by Mr. Zeliang, too, met the Governor.

Stable government my priority: Acharya

The BJP, an ally of the NPF in Nagaland since 2003, opted to strike a pre-poll deal with the NDPP that was formed last year by a group of leaders allegedly sidelined in the NPF. Neiphiu Rio, who reigned as Chief Minister of an NPF-led alliance for 11 years, joined the NDPP ahead of the Assembly polls.

“Mr. Zeliang and the other MLAs said the BJP would support them. They said their earlier alliance with the BJP stands because two BJP Ministers did not resign from the NPF-led government. I told them to get a letter of support from the BJP chief within 48 hours, though (NPF president) Shurhozelie Liezietsu had written to Mr. Shah long ago about alliance,” Mr. Acharya said.

The Governor gave time to the NDPP-BJP too to prove they have majority to form the government. The delegation that met him included BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav.

Seeks fresh list

“They submitted a list of 32 people but did not have the signatures of most of the MLAs. So I told them to bring a fresh list with signatures,” Mr. Acharya said. The majority mark in the 60-member Nagaland Assembly is 31.

The list had the names of 18 newly elected members of NDPP, 12 of BJP, one of JD(U) and one Independent. The Independent candidate is Tongpan Ozukum and the lone JD(U) legislator is G. Kaito Aye. The Governor specifically asked Mr. Aye to get a letter from his party president “to set things right.”

Mr. Aye expressed his support for the NDPP-BJP, but the JD(U)’s State unit president had pledged support to Mr. Zeliang.

“I made it clear that a stable and strong government in Nagaland is my priority,” the Governor said, adding that the BJP needs to come clean on its 15-year-old alliance with the NPF.

While inking the pre-poll deal with the NDPP on February 3, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the BJP was “still friends” with the NPF. This indicated the party had kept its options open.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 11:13:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/nagaland-2018/neiphiu-rio-has-majority-should-form-government-nagaland-governor/article22924414.ece

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