Split Ver­dict

The NPF breaks up, but if the BJP is plan­ning to do an ‘Arunachal’, they might not find the go­ing easy

India Today - - STATES - By Kaushik Deka

In Fe­bru­ary, T.R. Zeliang of the Naga Peo­ple’s Front (NPF) was ousted as chief min­is­ter of Na­ga­land fol­low­ing the gov­ern­ment’s an­nounce­ment of 33 per cent reser­va­tion for women in the civic polls. It had led to protests and vi­o­lence by sev­eral Naga tribal groups. Many felt that it chal­lenged tra­di­tional cus­toms of Naga so­ci­ety, which is now 90 per cent Chris­tian. Zeliang’s de­ci­sion to em­power women was also seen as a con­se­quence of the grow­ing in­flu­ence of the RSS and BJP in the state. He was re­placed by Shurhozelie Liezi­etsu, the 81-year-old NPF pres­i­dent. “Zeliang’s prox­im­ity to BJP gen­eral sec­re­tary Ram Mad­hav had an­gered many in the party. The lat­ter’s in­ter­fer­ence in in­ter­nal party mat­ters was un­ac­cept­able,” an NPF leader who did not want to be named, had said then.

But in less than five months, Zeliang is back in the hot seat, thanks to his al­leged friend­ship with the BJP. Sources say that with Shurhozelie show­ing no signs of va­cat­ing the seat for Zeliang—within the sched­uled six months, as de­cided by the two lead­ers ear­lier—al­liance part­ner

BJP stepped in. In Fe­bru­ary, for­mer chief min­is­ter Neiphiu Rio, in a des­per­ate at­tempt to re­turn to state pol­i­tics, had played a key role in or­ches­trat­ing the coup against Zeliang. This time, BJP

BACK IN THE CHAIR

File pic­ture of re­in­stated chief min­ster T.R. Zeliang

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