Rio stakes claim to govt in Nagaland

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KOHIMA, March 2 (agencies): In Nagaland, the Naga People`s Front (NPF), which promised to solve the vexed insurgency issue dogging the state since 1959, snapped up 38 of the 60 seats that went to polls on February 23.  Neiphiu Rio will be heading the coalition along with the JD(U) and BJP, which won 1 seat each, for the third successive time.

Rio, retaining his Northern Angami-II seat for the sixth consecutive term, reiterated that his government would continue to play the role of an “active facilitator” in the ongoing Naga peace talks. “We will form the government with our pre-poll alliance partners BJP and JD(U),” he said. “The results have shown that regional parties are here to stay in Nagaland.” The Congress which had 18 MLAs last time could win only eight seats this time.

Nagaland, the only state which has never had a woman MLA will again have an all-men assembly as both the women contestants lost.

Nagaland Chief Minister and Leader of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Neiphiu Rio today met Governor Nikhil Kumar and staked claim to form the government.

Rio, who led the Naga Peoples Front back to victory for a third consecutive time, submitted a letter to the Governor stating that he has been elected as the leader of the Naga Peoples Front Legislature Party (NPFLP) and of Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Legislature Party yesterday, official sources said. Rio also informed the Governor that seven Independent MLAs have given letters of unconditional support to the DAN government and recommended dissolution of the existing House and submitted the resignation of his council of ministers.

In the last assembly, the NPF had 26 MLAs and DAN had the support of 35 legislators.

25 first-timers have been elected to the new legislative assembly. Of the 25 first timers, 11 are from NPF, 4 from Congress, six Independents, two from NCP and one each from BJP and JD(U).

Among the first-timers is sitting Nagaland Lok Sabha MP CM Chang, who won on an NPF ticket from the Noksen seat on his third attempt. He lost in 2003 and 2008 on an NPF ticket. The first timers` list includes Merentoshi R Jamir of NPF who got elected from Mongya constituency. He is also the youngest (32) elected MLA and is the son of state Chief secretary, A Jamir.

Other young legislators who got elected are N Jacob Zhimomi (33), an Independent from Ghaspni-I, Tovihoto Ayemi (34) of NPF from Dimapur-I, Mnhonlumo Kikon (36) of NCP from Bhandari and P Paiwang Konyak (36) of BJP from Tizit constituency. Other first timer happens to be Zhaleo Rio of NPF from Ghapsani -II who  is the younger brother of Chief minister Neiphiu Rio.

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