Zeliang has been camping at Kaziranga National Park in Assam for the last four days with 22 NPF legislators supporting him lodged at the Iora resort.
“More MLAs are expected to join Zeliang’s camp,” said a source close to the minister. He said eight Independent MLAs have also decided to extend support.
He said the NCP, which has four members in the 60-member House, was likely to extend support to Zeliang. “We are expecting the NCP, the BJP and the JD (U) to extend support to our minister,” the source said. So far, Zeliang has the support of 27 NPF legislators, including senior cabinet ministers like Khuzoluzo Nienu and Keyanielie Peseyie.
Sources said the new chief minister could undertake a minor reshuffle in his cabinet and did not rule out axing a few ministers and parliamentary secretaries. But Zeliang’s aide said the NPF will maintain status quo, whoever becomes the next chief minister.
Noke Wangnao, who is another contender for the top post, criticised the rival camp for politicking from the jungles in Assam.
NPF president Shur-hozelie Leizietsu said the party would intervene if legislators failed to find a consensus candidate for the chief minister’s post. The party has formed a core committee consisting of several senior leaders for the smooth transition of power.
The committee has been meeting both the camps to solve their differences, while chief minister Neiphiu Rio has convened a meeting of NPF legislators tomorrow.