DIMAPUR, March 8 - Promising to redraw a new roadmap of progressive development in Nagaland, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) Legislature Party leader Neiphiu Rio took oath as Chief Minister of Nagaland for the fourth time in a first ever public place – Kohima local ground – in the state capital today. The swearing-in ceremony at the Kohima local ground assumes significance as it was the venue of the historic declaration of the statehood of Nagaland on December 1, 1963.
Along with Rio, his deputy Y Patton of the BJP and 10 other Cabinet ministers took oath in the presence of BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, BJP national general secretary (Northeast in-charge) Ram Madhav, Chief Ministers of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya Sarbanada Sonowal, Biren Singh, Pema Khandu and Conrad Sangma respectively and a huge crowd of well-wishers.
Nagaland Governor PB Acharya administered the oath of office and secrecy to the ministers.
The new ministry took oath under the banner of the People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) formed after the BJP and NDPP mustered the required majority figure to form the ministry. The BJP and NDPP fought the just-concluded state Assembly elections as allies on 20-40 seat-sharing arrangement with Rio as their chief ministerial candidate.
While six of the 12 BJP MLAs were appointed as Cabinet ministers, the lone JD(U) MLA and an Independent, with whose support the NDPP-BJP alliance mustered the majority mark in the House of 60, were also inducted into the Cabinet. Five NDPP legislators, including Rio, were among the 12 Cabinet ministers in the new ministry.
Besides Rio and Patton, other ministers who found place in the Cabinet are CM Chang (NDPP), G Kaito Aye (JD-U), Neiba Kronu (NDPP), S Pangnyu Phom (BJP), P Paiwang Konyak (BJP), Jacob Zhimomi (BJP), Metsubo Jamir (NDPP), Tongpang Ozukum (Independent), V Kashiho Sangtam (BJP) and Temjen Imna Along (BJP). The BJP won 12 seats out of the 20 seats it contested, while its ally NDPP won 18 seats from 40 constituencies. JD(U) and Independent secured one seat each. The Congress remained the largest single party with 26 seats out of the 58 seats where it put up candidates. The National People’s Party (NPP) emerged winner in two seats.
After the swearing-in ceremony, the new Chief Minister extended his appreciation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and also thanked all the dignitaries present at the function.
“We have also chosen to conduct the function at this historic place in honour of the people we are to serve, and to also remind ourselves publicly of the responsibilities that lie upon our shoulders. We have committed in our manifesto that we will remove VIP culture from Nagaland and we will ensure that the citizens of the state are the real VIPs,” he said.
Rio assured full cooperation of his government to work together under a spirit of unity and understanding with all the other states of the northeastern region in the greater interest of the people. “Our alliance has come to power on the back of a campaign that promised change,” he stated.