The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) leader Neiphiu Rio has taken the oath to become the Chief Minister of north-eastern Indian state of Nagaland today, after winning an unopposed constituency before assembly election and the party winning majority in the state.

Neiphiu Rio had won an unopposed election even before the voting had begun for Nagaland’s assembly elections after his only rival from the Naga People’s Front (NPF) withdrew his nomination. After the election results were declared on March 3, NDPP-BJP alliance were able to get numbers in their favour and hence form a government. So when it was the time to choose candidate for CM post of Nagaland, Rio was described as “the tallest leader in Nagaland” with an experience of 11 years in the state’s political and social structure. Rio has also managed to maintain peaceful relation between the Naga-rebels and Indian government and has always played a significant role in resolving the issues – which explains why he was the first choice for the CM role.

The swearing-in ceremony of new Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was arranged in Kohima’s Kohima Local Ground as this was where then-President Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan made the announcement of Nagaland’s statehood on December 1, 1963. Rio took his oath in presence of Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. MoS Home Kiren Rijiju, Manipur CM N Biren Singh, Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal and Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma. Whereas Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed his inability to attend the event.

Rio had recently broke away from the ruling NPF after the party decided to sever ties with the BJP. He then joined the newly-floated NDPP saying that he was committed to finding an early solution to the vexed Naga insurgency problem. Rio served three terms spanning 11 years as chief minister of Nagaland, from 2003 to 2014. After winning the Lok Sabha seat in 2014, he passed on the CM’s office to TR Zeliang, a move that was criticised by many.

3918