Normalcy was noticed in this Nagaland state capital on Friday after tribal groups partially suspended their indefinite shutdown after Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang sought a few more days to step down.
“We have partially suspended our agitation in view of the assurance given by the Chief Minister for his stepping down and his appeal to us to give him two to three more days in order to ensure smooth transition of office and in the larger interest of the state,” Nagaland Tribal Action Committee (NTAC) convener K.T. Vilie told IANS.
But the NTAC still imposed the shutdown of government offices and a ban on plying of government vehicles till Zeliang put in his papers. “If the Chief Minister failed to return to Kohima latest by Sunday (February 19), the NTAC will have no other choice but to resort to a fast-unto-death public rally in Kohima to force him to resign,” Vilie said.
On Thursday, Governor P.B. Acharya and Zeliang left for New Delhi from Dimapur after 42 of the 49 Naga People’s Front legislators “unanimously supported” their party supremo Shurhozelie Liezietsu to take over from Zeliang as the new legislature party leader.
Zeliang is expected to meet Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to appraise him of the prevailing situation and to insist with the Centre not to impose President’s Rule in Nagaland. “We are only waiting for Zeliang’s return to Kohima from New Delhi and we are hopeful for the smooth transition of power in the interest of the people of Nagaland,” a veteran NPF legislator, who wished not to be identified, told IANS.
In the 60-member assembly, the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition government, which comprises 48 NPF legislators, including suspended legislator Imkong Imchen, four of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and eight Independents. Shurhozelie, who is the chairman of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government, is not an elected member of the Nagaland assembly.
Nagaland has been on turmoil since January, after the NPF-led government decided to hold local body elections in 12 towns across the state with 33 per cent reservation for women. The government continued to shut down internet and mobile data service to stop the spread of rumours through social networking sites. It later declared the civic elections as “null” and “void”.
Three persons were killed and many injured following clashes between the police and the public, who were opposing the civic polls. In fact, NPF legislator Neiphrezo Keditsu had resigned as Chairman of Nagaland State Mineral Development Corporation Limited on moral grounds since one of the persons killed in the Dimapur police firing was from his village.
Nagaland has never elected a woman legislator since it gained statehood in 1963. The lone woman MP from the state was Rano M. Shaiza, who got elected in 1977. In the 2013 Assembly elections, two women candidates — one fielded by BJP and an Independent candidate — contested unsuccessfully.