Nagaland Chief Minister T.R.Zeliang on Saturday expanded his ministry, inducting eight Naga People’s Front (NPF) and two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators. Governor P.B. Acharya administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan, attended by Zeliang, the state’s lone Lok Sabha member and former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Speaker Imtiwapang Aier, NPF and BJP leaders besides government officials.
The expansion came a day after Zeliang won the floor test in the assembly and the NPF headed by dismissed Chief Minister Shurhozelie Liezietsu expelled 19 legislators and suspended 10 legislators on Friday night for violating the party’s constitution. Yanthungo Patton, Kipili Sangtam, G. Kaito Aye, Imkong L. Imchen, and Tokheho Yepthomi, who were among those expelled, and Neiba Kronu and Neikiesalie Nicky Kire, who were suspended, were sworn in as cabinet ministers.
Kejong Chang, who was also inducted, was the only one who did not face any action. NPF legislator E.E. Pangteang, whose name was in the list too, did not turn up as his fellow party legislator Noke Wangnao protested. Two of the four BJP legislators — Imtilemba Sangtam and Mhonlumo Kikon — were sworn in as cabinet ministers.
Zeliang was expelled from the NPF for six years after taking oath as Chief Minister on Wednesday, hours after Acharya dismissed Liezietsu for failing to prove his majority in the Assembly. Zeliang on Friday won the floor test, getting the support of 36 NPF, four BJP and seven Independent members in the 60-member assembly, where one seat is vacant. Ten NPF and one Independent members voted against. Liezietsu was not present in the Assembly as he is not a member. Zeliang is expected to induct some legislators as Parliamentary Secretaries on Monday besides allocating the portfolios of the cabinet ministers.