Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party leader Neiphiu Rio has taken over as the Chief Minister of Nagaland. He took oath in the 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 were also present at the oath ceremony in Kohima.
Rio had won even before the voting in Nagaland Assembly elections as he was elected unopposed after his rival from the Naga People's Front (NPF) withdrew his nomination.
Neiphiu Rio sworn-in as the CM of Nagaland in Kohima. pic.twitter.com/bIiT0af0j9
— ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2018
While the counting for the elections was underway on March 3, Rijiju had announced that Rio will be elected the Chief Minister if the NDPP-BJP were able to get numbers in their favour.
Having led Nagaland for 11 years, Rio has often been described as "the tallest leader in Nagaland". In January 2018, Nagaland's lone Lok Sabha member 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 has maintained that he has been a supporter of the peace process between the Naga rebels and the Indian government and has always worked to resolve the standoff in a manner acceptable to the people.
On quitting the NPF, he had said: "I have been left with no option but to resign from the NPF in accordance of the wishes of the people and in the greater interest of the masses in collective endeavour to bring an early political solution."
After weeks of negotiation ahead of the elections, NDPP had got into a pre-poll alliance with the BJP. The NDPP decided to contest on 40 seats while the saffron party agreed to field candidates in the remaining 20 seats.
Rio is also among the top three crorepati candidates in the state with assets worth Rs 36.41 crore.
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.