NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio on Tuesday took oath as the chief minister of Nagaland for the fifth term.
The 72-year-old politician was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor La Ganesan at the Capital Cultural Hall here.
NDPP's T R Zeliang and BJP's Yanthungo Patton were sworn-in as the deputy chief ministers of the state, while other members of the Rio cabinet also took oath.
State BJP chief Temjen Imna Along, widely popular on social media across the country for his sense of humour, and Salhoutuonuo Kruse, one of the two women elected to Nagaland assembly for the first time, were among those who were sworn-in as members of the council of ministers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP president J P Nadda and Assam Chief Minister, NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union minister Ramdas Athawale were among those present on the occasion.
In all, Rio's cabinet has seven ministers from the NDPP and five from the BJP.
Other members in the cabinet include NDPP's G Kaito Aye, K G Kenye, Metsubo Jamir and C L John, and BJP's Jacob Zhimomi, P Paiwang Konyak, Temjen Imna Along and P Bashangmonba Chang.
Only Kruse and Chang are fresh faces in the ministry.
Talking to PTI, Kruse expressed happiness on becoming the first woman cabinet minister in the state and said she would work sincerely for people in whatever portfolio allocated to her.
Interacting with reporters, Rio thanked elected representatives and the people of the state for giving him the fifth term as the chief minister.
On other political parties – NCP, NPP, Naga People’s Front, RPI (A), LJP (Ram Vilas), JD(U), Independent MLAs extending support to the NDPP-BJP alliance for an oppositionless government, he said his government will soon hold deliberations to take a final decision.
He said portfolios of the cabinet ministers, along with accommodation of other MLAs as advisors, would be taken after the first cabinet meeting scheduled on Tuesday evening.
The NDPP-BJP alliance secured a clear majority, winning 37 seats in the 60-member House in the recent assembly polls in the northeastern state.
All other parties in the state have extended their letters of support to the Rio-led alliance.
Rio first became the chief minister of Nagaland in 2003, leading the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland government of the Naga People's Front (NPF) and BJP.
He again became the CM in 2008 and in 2013, but resigned in 2014 and went to the Lok Sabha, before once again becoming the chief minister in 2018.
With his fifth term, Rio has become the longest serving chief minister of Nagaland.
He has surpassed S C Jamir's record, who was the chief minister from 1980, 1982-86, 1989-90 and two consecutive terms from 1993-2003.
-With PTI Input