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The Hunt For Nagaland’s Next Chief Minister

Move over, Bihar and Goa. Nagaland is the destination for every aspiring Chief Minister.

July 12, 2017
chief-minister-nagaland

Ghanta nai bajaoge hamara? (Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash)

Politics is a strange thing.

4 months after the widespread protests in Nagaland, the politicians there are back to playing musical chairs. And this time, friends have turned rivals, while…it’s confusing like fuck. But knowledge is power, and in this case, the people will be needing a lot of both.

In the aftermath of what happened in Nagaland  and everything that led to it (which I have attempted to compile here), 81-year old Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu became the Chief Minister, over former CM Neiphu Rio (suspended, then & now) and replacing the current CM TR Zeliang. But wait, was everything that simple?

A senior NPF worker from Dimapur claimed, “As per a tacit understanding between Zeliang and Shurhozelie in February, he was to vacate the chief months’s post within two-three months and suggest Zeliang’s name for it in a legislature party meeting. However, he didn’t do so and instead decided to contest the by-election.Nobody in the party knew about his son Khriehu’s resignation from the assembly to help Shurhozelie get elected to the house…”

[The Wire]

At the time when he became Chief Minister, Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu did not occupy any state assembly seat; so if he wanted to  stay CM after 6 months, he needed one within that time period. But then, what is the above person saying?

On July 8, TR Zeliang wrote to the state governor, saying he had the support of 41 MLAs in the assembly, and that he had the majority to form the government.  Surprisingly, this time he is being supported by Neiphu Rio & Supporters!

“They (Shurhozelie’s group) told Rio to take over after I said no to the deal. Rio told them he could not go back on his decision to support me,” Zeliang said.

[Hindustan Times]

Following these developments, about 30 MLAs along with Zeliang, went off to Kaziranga. Earlier this year, this was how Zeliang was made to resign.

Anyways, do they have a reason for why they want the current CM to resign?

local media reports say that the reason behind the ‘rebellion’ of the MLAs is Shurhozelie’s recent nomination of his son Khriehu Liesietsu as an “advisor” to his government with cabinet rank and pay

[The Wire]

The above appointment happened on 28 June. This was followed by a couple of heated exchanges between the ruling NPF and the not-even-one-seat occupying Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee. And then the revolt happened.

The most recent update is that the Governor has asked Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu to prove his majority on or before July 15. While that doesn’t seem to be much of a contest, (of the 60 MLAs in the assembly, Zeliang claims the support of 33-34 out of 47 NPF MLAs, and of 7 out of 8 independents), the current situation in Nagaland is worth recounting:

  1. There is no opposition in the Nagaland Assembly. All 60 MLAs are part of the ruling alliance.

  2. There have been no muncipal elections conducted in Nagaland since 2004. How will the cities and towns develop?

  3. If these above people are fighting so hard to stay in power, what is the reason? Is it to fight against ‘nepotism’? We all know better. So, a better question: just how much money and power is there in the CM’s chair? How much corruption?

  4. And if you haven’t noticed, women in Nagaland are not exactly on par with men. Or have not occupied even one seat in the Assembly, since its formation in 1964 till 2017. The only state in India to have that record.

Sure, fight to be the CM.


About the author: Hitesh Shetty
Dreams of writing a bestseller and changing the world. When awake, tries to figure out how to do both.

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