Kohima: T R Zeliang today decided to step down as Nagaland Chief Minister in a dramatic turn of events in the violence-hit state.
A statement from the Chief Minister’s Office confirmed Zeliang was stepping down and a consensus leader will be chosen tomorrow morning at Naga People’s Front Legislature Party meeting.
The NPF meeting will be followed by a meeting of DAN (Democratic Alliance of Nagaland) at 11 AM here.
In the 60-member Assembly, an NPF source claimed, former Chief Minister and sole MP from the state Neiphiu Rio, commanded the support of 49 MLAs, including 8 Independents, while at least 3 are with party President Dr Shurhozelie Liezitsu.
The three include Speaker Chotisuh Sazo.
However, political analysts said that with ever-changing complexions, the strength of each side can be clear only after the back-to-back crucial meetings tomorrow.
The legislators, holed up in a resort in Assam’s Kaziranga, had started leaving Kohima Friday night as Liezietsu was preparing to stake claim to replace Zeliang soon after the arrival of Governor P B Acharya from New Delhi.
NPF sources said both Rio and Zeliang met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi yesterday but they refused to divulge details.
The BJP has four MLAs in the state.
Zeliang had left for Delhi on February 16 after seeking two days’ time to step down from the chief ministerial post.
Protests had erupted after announcement of holding ULB elections with 33 per cent reservation for women.
The Nagaland government had fulfilled the demand of Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) Kohima, declaring the entire process of Urban Local Bodies election with 33 per cent reservation for women as null and void.
Its second demand of suspending the personnel involved in January 31 police firing on the protesters leading to the killing of two youths in Dimapur has been partially fulfilled as they have been transferred.