The leader of Naga People’s Front (NPF), Shurhozelie Liezietsu, was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Nagaland on 22 February 2017 at Raj Bhavan, Kohima.
The 81-year-old is the oldest to take oath as the Chief Minister of the state. He has been a member of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) eight times. However, since he did not contest the 2013 election, he is not a sitting member of NLA and will have to get elected within six months of taking office.
He was invited by the Governor of the state, P B Acharya to form the new government on 20 February after a vote that saw him emerge as the unanimous choice for the post. He had earlier met the Governor to stake his claim for the position.
Shurhozelie will be succeeding TR Zeliang, who resigned from the post following widespread protests in the state by the Nagaland Tribes Action Committee (NTAC) over 33 per cent reservation for women in local body elections. The NTAC has called off its state-wide bandh following Zeliang’s resignation.
To break the deadlock with the agitating tribal groups and the government, a vote was conducted on 15 February, in which 42 of the total 49 legislators had unanimously selected Shurhozelie as their new legislature party leader.
According to Nagaland’s Rajya Sabha member K G Kenye, Shurhozelie was unanimously elected as the new legislature party leader of the NPF and also as the new leader of the government.
About Shurhozelie Liezietsu
• Born on 20 November 1936 in a village in Kohima, Liezietsu belongs to Angami tribe, one of the 16 major tribes in Nagaland.
• He started off as a clerk in the state secretariat and later switched to teaching.
• His political career began in 1969 when he along with some others jointly founded Nagaland’s first regional party, the United Democratic Front (UDF) and later the Naga National Democratic Party (NNDP).
• He also played a significant role in the formation of Nagaland Peoples’ Front (NPF) in 2002.
• His political career spans across 5 decades wherein he was elected as an MLA eight times and also held several other high-profile ministerial portfolios.
• He has written more than 40 books that include novels, poetry, drama, history and translations.
• He decided against contesting the 2013 elections as he wished to retire from politics but he was instead appointed as the President of NPF and Chairman of DAN (Democratic Alliance of Nagaland).
Shurhozelie will now be faced with a tough task of managing the factions within the party and take decisions on holding the urban local body (ULB) polls with 33% reservation for women, a major issue that led Zeliang to step down.