Naga People’s Front (NPF) supremo and former Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu on Thursday won the assembly by-election from the Northern Angami-I constituency. Liezietsu, whose Democratic Alliance of Nagaland-led government was dismissed on July 19 after failing to prove his majority in the assembly, defeated his rival Independent candidate Kekhrielhoulie Yhome by 3,470 votes.The 80-year-old regionalist leader secured 8,038 votes and Yhome garnered 4,568 votes in the election held on July 29, Chief Electoral Officer Abhijit Sinha told IANS. “I am thankful to the voters who continued to support me,” Liezietsu, who is now elected to Nagaland assembly, told IANS. The by-election was necessitated following the resignation of sitting NPF legislator Khriehu Liezietsu on May 24 enabling his father Shurhozelie Liezietsu to contest and enter the assembly.
On February 22, Shurhozelie was forced to come out of retirement from electoral politics to take over as Chief Minister after T.R. Zeliang resigned following a violent protest by tribal groups who were opposed to his move to hold civic polls with 33 per cent reservation for women.The NPF is facing a severe internal crisis, especially after Zeliang was sworn in as Chief Minister for the second time on July 19. Zeliang is supported by 36 NPF legislators, four Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators, and seven Independent members. The Shurhozelie Liezietsu-headed NPF has expelled 20 of its legislators and suspended 10 others, who were involved in toppling his government and for violating the party’s constitution.
Zeliang was the first to be expelled from the NPF for six years after taking oath as Chief Minister.On Tuesday, the Shurhozelie Liezietsu faction also suspended its lone Lok Sabha member Neiphiu Rio from the primary membership of the party “for being directly involved in splitting the NPF legislators for the furtherance of his hidden agenda”.The action against Rio, a former Chief Minister, came after the NPF’s legislature party led by Chief Minister Zeliang appointed him as the interim party president. This is the second time that Rio has been suspended from NPF.