Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang on Thursday won a trust vote by garnering 59 votes in the 60-member assembly, thus ending a month-long dissidence within the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) party.
Governor P.B. Acharya summoned the special session of the assembly in order to settle the internal bickering within the NPF after 22 out of 38 of its legislators demanded the removal of Zeliang as chief minister.
Two cabinet ministers, five parliamentary secretaries and four legislators appointed as advisors or chairmen of government sector undertakings resigned to mount pressure on Zeliang.
“The truth has prevailed. I volunteered to move the vote of confidence in order to break the logjam, and clear the air of confusion created by false propaganda of some the people (rebel NPF legislators),” Zeliang told IANS after winning the vote of confidence.
A total of 59 legislators – barring Speaker Chotisuh Sazo – cutting across party lines voted in unison for Zeliang.
The voters included eight Congress legislators, who had earlier decided to stay away, as well as four of the Bharatiya Janata Party who were instructed to abstain in a bid to stay neutral.
“The party (NPF) had decided that the misguided (rebel) legislators must be given the opportunity to realise their error, and return to the party fold,” the chief minister said.
He appealed to the assembly members to ensure that they put a common goal above all personal interests and lead by example.
“Discontentment with regard to allocation of portfolios is no reason to bring divisions or to say that the council of ministers headed by me has failed in governing the state,” Zeliang said.
The revolt against Zeliang began a month ago when a section of NPF legislators, allegedly backed by lone Lok Sabha member Neiphiu Rio, demanded a change of leadership. The rebel legislators had backed G. Kaito Aye as the new chief minister.
In the 60-member assembly, the NPF has 38 members, supported by pre-poll alliance partners – four of the BJP and one of the Janata Dal-United, while one member of the Nationalist Congress Party and eight independent members give outside support to the government. The Congress has eight members.