Neiphiu Rio was on Tuesday sworn in for a third straight term as chief minister of Nagaland along with 11 ministers by the governor at a glittering function at the Raj Bhavan in Kohima. All the 11 ministers were from his own party, the Naga People’s Front, which had won 38 seats in the 60-member house.
The NPF is supported by two alliance partners, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Dal-United with one member of Legislative Assembly each, while it has the unconditional support of 7 independents.
Governor Nikhil Kumar administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 63-year-old chief minister, followed by his ministers, Noke Konyak, T R Zeliang, G Kaito Aye, Imkong L Imchen, Kuzholuzo Nienu, Kiyaneilie Peseyie, Yanthungo Patton, C M Chang, E E Pangteang, S Pangyuh Phom and R Merentoshi Jamir.
Imchen, who was home minister in the earlier ministry, had been arrested after recovery of Rs 1.10 crore in cash, arms and ammunition allegedly from his car in Wokha district on February 18. He had subsequently resigned.
Rio, Noke, Zeliang, Aye, Imchen and Nienu served earlier as ministers. Two-time Speaker Kiyaneilie Peseyie, former parliamentary secretary Yanthungo Patton, former Lok Sabha MP CM Chang, former advisor Department for Development of Backward Area EE Pangteang, former parliamentary secretary Rural Development and R Merentoshi Jamir are among six who would hold cabinet rank for the first time.
Jamir at 32 and the youngest among the ministers was the only fresh face to be given a berth. The chief minister told PTI that the portfolios would be announced after the swearing in of Parliamentary secretaries in the evening at his office.
A host of dignitaries including independent MLAs, NPF president Shurhozelie, senior bureaucrats, officers from the police and paramilitary forces and representatives of non-governmental organisations attended the swearing-in.