Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party leader Neiphiu Rio, who won unopposed even before the voting in Nagaland Assembly elections, is slated to be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Nagaland on Thursday. The 67-year-old former Nagaland Chief Minister was elected unopposed in the Nagaland Assembly elections after his rival from the Naga People's Front (NPF) withdrew his nomination.
— ANI (@ANI) March 8, 2018
Even before full results of the Nagaland Assembly polls were declared, Union minister Kiren Rijiju had announced that Rio would be the Chief Minister of Nagaland if the NDPP-BJP secured majority.
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 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.
(With agency inputs)