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By Oken Jeet Sandham
KOHIMA, Mar 8 (NEPS): NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio has been sworn in as Chief Minister of Nagaland for the fourth time today bringing down the 15-year old NPF-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Government. Along with him, six Cabinet Ministers including Deputy Chief Minister from BJP, three Cabinet Ministers from NDPP, one Cabinet Minister from JDU and one Cabinet Minister from an Independent took the oath.
The Governor of Nagaland PB Acharya administered the oaths to the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister and the ten Ministers in an open-air swearing-in ceremony held here at Kohima Local Ground.
NDPP MLAs, who were sworn-in as Chief Minister and Ministers, were Neiphiu Rio, Chief Minister while CM Chang, Neiba Kronu and Metsubo Jamir as Ministers. BJP MLAs, who were sown-in as Deputy Chief Minister and Ministers, were Y Patton, Deputy Chief Minister while S Pangyu Phom, P Paiwang Konyak, Jacob Zhimomi, V Kashiho Sangtam and Temjen Imna Along as Ministers. The other two MLAs, JDU and Independent, who were sworn in as Ministers were G Kaito Aye and Tongpang Ozukum respectively.
Later addressing a press conference here at the Civil Secretariat, newly sworn-in Chief Minister Rio expressed his happiness to the people of Nagaland for reposing their faith in the NDPP-BJP alliance and assured that he would do justice in all-round development in the State.
Asking as to why his NDPP only got four Cabinet Ministers while BJP, which won lesser seats than them in the just concluded General Election in the State, got six Cabinet Ministers, he explained that though numerically NDPP won more seats than BJP. In performance-wise, BJP had done well. “NDPP unperformed in the just concluded elections, though we did not expect that,” he stated. “Hopefully, the arrangement in the Cabinet ratio is no problem.”
He, however, disclosed that their shares were given to the other allies – JDU and one Independent. He further explained that their pre-poll alliance could only win 30 and they later entered into a post-poll alliance with JDU, an Independent and NPP. “Therefore, we (NDPP) have to sacrifice our shares and that have gone to JDU and Independent,” he said. “We are satisfied in the Cabinet ratio.”
When asked whether the kind of Government he was heading would be stable, Rio said in positive saying his Government would be stable.
When asked whether there would be Parliamentary Secretaries in his Ministry, he said there would not be any Parliamentary Secretaries this time. Since they had seen how Delhi Government faced with regard to the appointment of Parliamentary Secretary, and therefore they did not intend to appoint any Parliamentary Secretaries this time. He, however, stated that they were discussing the issue and listening to the advice of legal luminaries as to how they would go about. “We will devise some roles as to how our legislators in the ruling become part of the Ministry because we are running smaller State like ours (Nagaland),” he added.
Reiterating that his Government would continue to play the role of “facilitator” towards finding a solution to the Naga political issue, the Chief Minister said one of their top agendas was to pursue a solution to the Naga political issue that was “acceptable and honorable” to the people. He also said his first Cabinet Meeting that was held soon after the swearing-in ceremony of his Ministry today made an appeal to the NSCN (K) to come to the peace talks, besides his Government would set up a “Political Affairs Committee (PAC)” that would play the role of meeting all the groups for an early resolution to the issue. “BJP with NDPP, we will take up many issues on political fronts,” he added.
On Governor Acharya’s remark that Naga political issue would come within six months, Rio refused to give any comment on it saying “Nobody can give a definite timeframe when the solution to the Naga political issue will come about.”
But Prime Minister Narendra Modi while campaigning in Nagaland assured his Government’s priority towards finding a solution to the issue. So they were hopeful that the issue would be resolved at the earliest, he added.
Chief Ministers from Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya – Biren Singh, A Sonowal, Pema Kandu and Conrad Sangma – attended the swearing-in ceremony. Union Ministers – Nirmala, Defense Minister, Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rejiju and BJP National President, Amit Shah and BJP National Secretary, Ram Madhav – were among others who also attended the ceremony.