Five days after he assumed office for after dislodging the five-month government headed by Shurhozelie Liezietsu, Nagaland chief minister TR Zeliang on Monday inducted one more member into his government, taking his cabinet size to the maximum, comprising of 12 members. The minister sworn in is EE Pangteang.
While governor PB Acharya administered the oath of office and secrecy to Pangteang at the Kohima Raj Bhavan on Monday morning, chief minister Zeliang also indicated that senior Naga People’s Front (NPF) legislator Noke Wangnao would be soon appointed chairman of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN). The BJP with five legislators apart from seven Independent MLAs are part of the ruling alliance.
Zeliang, who was forced to resign in February this year in the backdrop of an agitation against holding municipal elections in the state with 33 per cent reservation for women turning violent, was sworn in as chief minister on July 19 after Shurhozelie Liezietsu failed to turn up at a special session of the state assembly to move a motion of confidence. Governor Acharya invited Zeliang to take over after dismissing Liezietsu the same day.
Meanwhile, the original NPF, which is now left only 11 legislators apart from its president and ousted chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu, has called an emergency meeting of the party’s central executive committee to chalk out its next plan of action after Zeliang and his supporters, along with the BJP and seven Independent MLAs formed a new government by ousting Liezietsu on July 19.
While the NPF is now virtually split, the Liezietsu faction has already expelled 19 legislators and suspended 10 legislators for violating the party’s constitution. The Liezietsu faction last week also announced severing its ties with the BJP by accusing the latter of allegedly fomenting instability in the state “for its own selfish interests.”
The NPF-led government headed by Zeliang however has two BJP ministers too, in addition to ten NPF members including the chief minister.