TR Zeliang resigned as chief minister in the wake of the protests after he announced 33% reservation to women in urban local bodies. Photograph: (ANI)
The political turmoil in Nagaland worsened on Sunday with former chief minister TR Zeliang staking his claim to form government and chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu subsequently sacking four cabinet ministers who were demanding his removal.
Zeliang wrote to the Governor claiming the support of 47 legislators of his party, the Naga People's Front, and seven independent lawmakers.
"34 Naga People's Front (NPF) MLAs (including me) out of 47, supported me to continue as the Leader of the Legislature party of NPF," Zeliang wrote in the letter. "Seven Independent MLAs have also affirmed their support in favour of me taking the tally to 41 out of 59 in support of me."
In his letter, Zeilang also stated that the MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly) had asked incumbent chief minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu to resign and pave way for him to take over as the Chief Minister.
"I request that I may be invited to form a new NPF-led DAN Government at the earliest," he wrote.
Zeliang, along with 41 legislators, is lodged at a resort in Assam's Kaziranga National Park.
He said they were waiting for the Governor to invite Zeliang to form the government.
The Governor is in Maharashtra and he is expected to return to Nagaland in a few days.
Following Zeilang's move, Liezietsu, chief of the Nagaland People's Front, sacked four legislators from his party and six independent legislators, as Parliamentary Secretaries.
The Nagaland chief minister asked Governor PB Acharya to remove home Minister Yanthungo Patton, Power Minister Kipili Sangtam, National Highway and Political Affairs Minister G Kaito Aye, Forest and Environment and Climate Change Minister Imkong L Imchen from the cabinet.
The Nagaland government issued notifications terminating the appointment of Zeliang as Advisor (Finance) and Nuklotoshi as Advisor to Chief Minister.
Liezietsu was sworn in as Chief Minister on February 22 this year after Zeliang stepped down in the wake of violent protests by tribal groups who were opposed to his decision to hold elections in urban local bodies with 33 per cent reservation for women.
The Chief Minister has appealed to the people of the state to keep calm and has assured that the crisis within the party will be resolved at the earliest.
He said the NPF-led government will complete its full term.
In the 59-member assembly, the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland coalition government has 47 legislators of the NPF, four of the Bharatiya Janata Party and eight independents.