DIMAPUR, July 21 - Stepping into his second inning as Nagaland Chief Minister in a span of three years, TR Zeliang won the trust vote during an emergent session of the State Assembly today. Thirty-six NPF MLAs, seven Independents and four BJP legislators totaling 47 voted in favour of the motion moved by Zeliang while 10 NPF legislators and one Independent belonging to the camp of former Chief Minister Dr Shurhozelie Liezietsu voted against in a House of 59.
Liezietsu was not present in the House as he is not a member of the Assembly.
After administering the oath of office to Zeliang on July 19, Nagaland Governor PB Acharya asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the House by July 22. However, the Chief Minister decided to prove his majority today and won it without any fuss.
During the emergent session, some MLAs debated on the issue of the two counter whips issued by the two groups in NPF. The Chief Minister replied point-by-point to their questions during the debate.
After the vote on the Motion of Confidence, Speaker Dr Imtiwapang Aier adjourned the House sine-die.
The development followed after former Chief Minister Liezietsu failed to turn up for a floor test at 9.30 am on July 19 as directed by the Governor. Immediately thereafter on the day, the Governor appointed Zeliang as the 19th Chief Minister of the State, and he was sworn in at Raj Bhavan in Kohima in the afternoon.
Challenging the directive of the Governor on July 11 and 13 to take a floor test by July 15, Liezietsu filed a writ petition in the Kohima Bench of Gauhati High Court on July 14, contending that it was an �ex facie unconstitutional, illegal, and arbitrary� order that violated the Constitution. The Court dismissed Liezietsu�s petition on July 18 and left the matter to the wisdom of the Governor to take a decision. Following the verdict, the Governor had asked Liezietsu to prove his majority on July 19, but he failed to turn up in the House.
Meanwhile, as political uncertainty continues, Chief Minister Zeliang did not rule out merging with other political party if situation compelled. However, he ruled out merging with the newly formed Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) allegedly formed by former Chief Minister and now Lok Sabha MP Neiphiu Rio.
Zeliang, who was expelled from the Naga People�s Front (NPF) 15 minutes after he was sworn in as new Chief Minister on July 19, said he will have to discuss the issue with his MLAs before taking any decision.
If at all opting for merger, BJP would be most viable for Zeliang and the party but party sources said most of the legislators do not want to join the saffron party.