Meghalaya's Sangma, Nagaland's Rio take oath of office as chief ministers
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
Shillong/Kohima: National People’s Party (NPP) president Conrad K. Sangma and NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio on Tuesday took the oath of office as the chief ministers of Meghalaya and Nagaland respectively. While it is the second term for Mr Sangma, for Mr Rio it is the fifth term. Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with Union home minister Amit Shah, BJP president J.P. Nadda as Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) chairman, attended the ceremonies along with the leaders of the alliance partners.
Mr Sangma, who was sworn in along with 11 members of his council of ministers, said his focus will be on sectors that can provide large-scale employment. Prestone Tynsong and Sniawbhalang Dhar, both from the NPP, took the oath as deputy chief ministers, underlining the strength of the regional party in the rainbow coalition which has come to power once again. Mr Tynsong was the deputy CM in the previous government as well.
The BJP’s Alexander Laloo Hek, UDP’s Paul Lyngdoh and Kyrmen Shylla, and Shakliar Warjri of the HSPDP also took the oath as ministers.
In all, eight MLAs from the NPP, two from the UDP and one each from the BJP and HSPDP were administered the oath of office and secrecy as ministers by state governor Phagu Chauhan at Raj Bhavan in Shillong.
Under the rules, Meghalaya, with a 60-member Assembly, cannot have more than 12 ministers, including the CM.
The PM later tweeted: "Congratulations to those who took the oath. Best wishes to them in their pursuit of taking Meghalaya to new heights of growth."
The NPP became the single-largest party, winning 26 seats in the recently-held election. The UDP bagged 11 seats while the BJP, HSPDP and People's Democratic Front (PDF) got two seats each. Besides them, two Independent members also extended support to Mr Sangma.
The ruling coalition on Monday decided it would be called the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance 2.0 since its partners are the same as the previous one.
"We are exploring many options apart from improving infrastructure, road, power and water connectivity… We are prioritising our focus on areas and sectors where we can provide large-scale employment to people," Mr Sangma told a news agency after taking the oath. Health, education, agriculture and tourism are also important sectors, he said.
"The foundation for the work in all these sectors have been laid in the past five years and now will work aggressively in those sectors," Mr Sangma added.
Congratulating Mr Sangma and the others who took the oath as ministers, Mr Nadda tweeted: "Under the guidance of PM @narendramodi Ji & your able governance Meghalaya will soar the heights of success once again. My best wishes for a successful tenure."
In Kohima, 72-year-old politician and NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio was administered the oath of secrecy by governor La Ganesan. T.R. Zeliang and Y. Patton were sworn in as deputy chief ministers of the state, while other members of the Rio Cabinet also took the oath.
State BJP chief Temjen Imna Along, widely popular on the social media across the country for his sense of humour, and Salhoutuonuo Kruse, one of the two women elected to the Nagaland Assembly for the first time, were among those who were sworn in as members of the council of ministers.
Mr Rio will lead an all-party Opposition-less government, even as the NDPP-BJP alliance secured 37 seats in the 60-member House in the recent Assembly polls in the state. All other parties in the state have extended their letters of support to the Rio-led alliance.