The post of the deputy speaker fell vacant after Zhaleo Rio was allotted the charge of sericulture, excise and minority affairs in the recent cabinet reshuffle  Credit: File image

Kohima: Sharingain Longkumer (37), a first-timer and consensus candidate of the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) in Nagaland who won the by-election to the Aonglenden constituency earlier this year, was unanimously elected as the deputy speaker of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Tuesday.

Longkumer was elected unopposed after the opposition party Naga People’s Front (NPF) did not file any nomination. Speaker NLA Vikho-o Yhoshü declared the results during the ongoing 4th session of the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly, which began on Tuesday.

Longkumer, who is one of the youngest legislators in the state, replaced Zhaleo Rio, the brother of chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who was allotted the charge of sericulture, excise and minority affairs as advisor through a notification dated July 23 in a minor cabinet reshuffle.

Zhaleo was relieved from the charge of deputy speaker with effect from July 22 after which the post fell vacant.

Felicitating Longkumer, leader of the house Neiphiu Rio acknowledged Longkumer, who is also a member of the Nagaland Bar Council, of his wide experience and efforts in promoting education in the state.

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Leader of opposition, TR Zeliang, said that although the seat of the deputy speaker is often given to the opposition, the NPF has decided not to file any nomination to the said post after the ruling government filed their nomination, in order to show support to the “neutral chair”.

Recalling light memories of Longkumer as a young boy, Zeliang expressed that although a newcomer, Longkumer’s experience with “a good legal background” will benefit the state and further extended fullest cooperation towards the discharge of his issue.

Meanwhile, Longkumer expressed his gratitude to the house for entrusting him with the responsibility. Accepting it with integrity, he pledged to uphold the duties of the deputy speaker with the spirit of impartiality.

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