Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang Faces Ally BJP's Onslaught This Time

Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang Faces Ally BJP's Onslaught This Time


NEW DELHI:  Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang, 66, belongs to the Naga People's Front or NPF. He has expressed confidence that his party will win the assembly elections to be held on February 27. Mr Zeliang faces an alliance of the BJP and the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) in the Nagaland assembly elections.

In July 2017, the Naga People's Front leader became the chief minister of the north-eastern state five months after he was compelled to step down. It was the second time Mr Zeliang was sworn in as chief minister in the third term of the NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government.

Mr Zeliang, who had been Minister for Planning and Coordination in the DAN government, had become chief minister for the first time when he succeeded Neiphiu Rio in May 2014, following Mr Rio's election to the Lok Sabha.

In February 2017, Mr Zeliang was forced to step down as chief minister following public agitation against the government for reservation of 33 per cent of seats for women in elections to urban local bodies.

TR Zeliang joined politics as president of district Youth Congress in 1976. He has been involved in state politics for four decades and served as minister in successive governments in Nagaland.

He was born at Mbaupungwa village in Peren district in 1952. A Zeliang Naga, he matriculated from Don Bosco High School in Dibrugarh, Assam and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kohima Arts College.

Mr Zeliang contested state assembly elections for the first time in 1982 as an independent and again in 1987 as an Naga National Democratic Party candidate from 6-Tening constituency in Nagaland's Peren district. He did not win both times.

Then he won from Tening four times in a row beginning with the elections in 1989 as a candidate of the Naga People's Council and subsequently in 1993, 1998 and 2003 as a candidate of the Congress party.

Mr Zeliang served as Minister of State for Information and Tourism in 1989-90 and as Minister of State for Relief and Rehabilitation from 1994 to 1998.

From 1998 to 2003, he was the Minister for Environment and Forests and Geology and Mining under the SC Jamir government. In 2003, Mr Zeliang and six Congress legislators formed the Nagaland Congress after defecting from the Congress party, only to merge with the Neiphiu Rio-led Naga People's Front.

From 2004 to 2008, he had been a Rajya Sabha parliamentarian from Nagaland.

Returning to state politics in 2008, he won from 7-Peren constituency and was appointed Planning, Animal Husbandry and Parliamentary Affairs Minister under Neiphiu Rio.

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