Kohima, July 9: Former Chief Minister T R Zeliang has staked claim to form the government in Nagaland asserting that he enjoyed the support of 41 of the 59 MLAs, after a majority of ruling NPF legislators rebelled against the incumbent Shurhozelie Liezietsu.
In a letter to Governor P B Acharya last evening, Zeliang claimed that at a meeting of the Legislature Party of the NPF on June 4, 34 party MLAs out of the total 47, supported him to be their leader and urged him to stake claim to form a new government.
The MLAs also urged Liezietsu, who was yet to become a member of the assembly, to resign and facilitate Zeliang becoming the new chief minister, the letter said.
Zeliang also claimed that seven Independents had also affirmed their support to him taking the tally to 41 out of 59 legislators.
Zeliang requested the governor to invite him to form a new Naga People s Front (NPF)-led DAN government in Nagaland at the earliest.
The 34 NPF legislators, who have extended their support to Zeliang, have been camping at a resort in Kaziranga in Assam where they held a meeting last evening, NPF sources said.
They told PTI last night that 33 MLAs were in Zeliang's camp, while 11 each were in the camps of Liezietsu and Lok Sabha MP and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio. The rest of the MLAs in the 60-member house are maintaining neutrality.
Liezietsu too in a statement had expressed pain at the "disturbing developments", which he said, was "affecting the normal functioning of the government".
The development comes at a time when Liezietsu, also the NPF president, is gearing up for the July 29 by-election from the Northern Angami-I assembly seat, vacated by his son.
Khriehu Liezietsu, son of the chief minister, had resigned on May 24 to enable his father to contest and be an elected member of the assembly to continue in office.
Liezietsu took over from Zeliang on Februrary 22 this year following the state-wide protest against the holding of election to the urban local bodies with 33 per cent reservation for women.
This is the fourth time in the NPF-led DAN government when MLAs are working to oust the incumbent chief minister.
Since 2014 when Rio vacated the chief minister's chair to contest the Lok Sabha polls, the NPF government has faced such crisis twice in 2014 and 2015.