Kohima, May 23:
Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has submitted his resignation to Governor Ashwani Kumar after his election to the Lok Sabha. He will be succeeded by senior Naga People’s Front leader T.R.Zeliang, who will be sworn-in Saturday.
“We have met the governor and staked claim to form the government. I have also handed a list of my new council of ministers. The governor has invited us for talking oath of office and secrecy tomorrow (Saturday),” Chief Minister-designate Zeliang told IANS.
Zeliang, 62, a confidant of Rio and the planning and co-ordination minister in the Rio-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition, which also comprises the Nationalist Congress Party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Janata Dal-United and Independent legislators, will be the 17th chief minister of this mountainous state.
In the 60-member Nagaland assembly, the NPF has 38 members, the NCP four, the BJP and the JD-U have two each, while there are eight Independents. The opposition Congress has eight legislators.
“I am ready to accept the responsibility as chief minister to ensure coherence and unity in the NPF in the interest of the state,” Zeliang said.
Asked if he would retain ministers from Rio’s cabinet, he said: “Some new faces will be inducted in my ministry, while I have also decided to retain some of them.”
Meanwhile, assembly Speaker Chotisuh Sazo accepted the resignation of Rio as member of the Nagaland assembly.
Three-time chief minister Rio, who is likely to find a cabinet berth in the Narendra Modi ministry, won the Lok Sabha constituency from the state, defeating his nearest Congress rival K.V. Pusa by 400,225 votes.