DIMAPUR, May 12 � The uncertainty over who will be the next Chief Minister of Nagaland once the incumbent Chief Minister vacates the chair in the event of being elected to the Lok Sabha has settled down. Rio contested the recently held Lok Sabha election for the lone Nagaland parliamentary seat on NPF ticket.
One of the two main contenders for the CM�s chair PHE Minister Noke Konyak today withdrew from the race. The other contender, Planning and Development Minister TR Zeliang, will now have a smooth sailing with the backing of at least 27 out of 38 NPF legislators. Nagaland Assembly has a total of 60 members.
Around 25 legislators, including Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries, supporting TR Zeliang are camping in Kaziranga National Park since the last week. According to sources, some NCP and Independent legislators also have joined the Zeliang camp in Kaziranga.
In a letter to NPF president Dr Shurhozelie today, Noke said after a series of consultations with Konyak legislators, members of Eastern Nagaland Legislators Union and other Ministers of NPF, who are in station, and in the greater interest of the party, the stability of the government and in the larger interest of the people of the State, he has decided to withdraw his candidature for the post of the Chief Minister.
�I hope that my gesture will pave the way for smooth transition of power when the need arises,� Noke said while expressing deep concern over the on-going political impasse for the post of Chief Minister.
�I am sure that under your presidentship and the able leadership of Neiphiu Rio, the NPF will be guided towards a more cohesive and united party,� Noke said in his letter to Dr Shurhozelie.
Meanwhile, welcoming Noke�s decision to withdraw his candidature, Chief Minister Rio said the mature decision taken by him will now pave the way for a smooth transition and ensure togetherness of the party and the government.
�I am hopeful that the withdrawal of Noke from leadership race will further strengthen the party as we all strive collectively to provide a stable government that will continue to work towards economic development and achievement of permanent peace,� Rio said in a statement today.
Rio also said the gesture of Noke is appreciated as he has shown his maturity in leadership and his deep concern and care for the regional party and the people of the State.
The CM also assured all rank and file of the party and all legislators of DAN his fullest cooperation as they strive together to deliver the goods to the people and continue to work towards achievement of an honourable political solution that will usher in permanent peace in the State.