Neiphiu Rio, the man who won unopposed in Nagaland, to be NDPP-BJP CM candidate

Rio may soon become Nagaland chief minister if election results go in favour of the NDPP -BJP alliance.

Neiphiu Rio, the man who won unopposed in Nagaland, to be NDPP-BJP CM candidate

Even before voting for Nagaland Assembly elections took place on February 27, one of the favourites to occupy the chief minister's post in the event of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance winning the polls, had secured his seat. Neiphiu Rio, the 67-year-old former Nagaland chief minister was elected unopposed in the Nagaland Assembly election after his rival from the Naga People's Front (NPF) withdrew his nomination.
 
Rio may soon become Nagaland chief minister if election results go in favour of the NDPP -BJP alliance. "NDPP-BJP's chief-ministerial candidate is Neiphiu Rio. But depending on the results, decisions will be taken in the future," Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said on Saturday even as votes were being counted for Nagaland Assembly elections.
 
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.
 
Quitting the party, 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 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 was elected unopposed after NPF's Chupfuo Angami, who happens to be Rio's brother-in-law, quit the race claiming that "his position was not good." However, this is not the first time that Rio won without a challenge. In 1998, he had been elected unopposed as a Congress candidate, thanks to the boycott of the election by other parties. 
 
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. If his party wins the polls, Rio would have to resign his Lok Sabha seat to be able to continue as a Nagaland MLA, and tale over as the Chief Minister.

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