Conrad, Neiphiu sworn in, begin fresh innings as CM
Conrad Sangma and Neiphiu Rio took oath on Tuesday as chief ministers of Meghalaya and Nagaland respectively in ceremonies that were attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah
Conrad Sangma and Neiphiu Rio took oath on Tuesday as chief ministers of Meghalaya and Nagaland respectively in ceremonies that were attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah.
At the Raj Bhavan in Kohima, governor La Ganesan administered the oath of office to Rio, who took power as chief minister for the fifth time. Taditui Rangkau Zeliang and Yanthungo Patton also took oath as deputy chief ministers, alongside nine other ministers. Salhoutuono Kruse made history as the state’s first woman minister.
“I’m very happy to be back as chief minister. It is by the good wishes of the people and their support,” Rio said after the ceremony.
The events were also attended by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief JP Nadda and Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The first ceremony of the day was in Shillong, where National People’s Party (NPP) chief Conrad Sangma was sworn in as the chief minister of Meghalaya for a second successive term in the presence of Modi, Nadda, and Shah.
Governor Phagu Chauhan administered the oath of office to Sangma, his two deputies Prestone Tynsong and Sniawbhalang Dhar, and nine other ministers. M Ampareen Lyngdoh was the lone woman minister to be inducted.
“We have laid the foundation in the last five years for many sectors and we will continue to work aggressively on those and build a better state for our people. We will primarily ensure improvement of overall infrastructure,” said Sangma.
He added that there will be focus on health, education, social welfare, and young people. The government will continue efforts to prevent illegal coal mining, he said.
The ceremonies came five days after elections in three northeastern states — Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura — were announced. The Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies won in all three states. In Tripura, Manik Saha is set to take oath on Wednesday.
In Nagaland, the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and ally BJP returned to power by winning 37 of 60 assembly seats. The state is staring at yet another Opposition-less assembly after all parties extended support to the government. The election was also historic because two women — Salhoutuonuo Kruse and Hekani Jakhalu — were elected on NDPP tickets as the state’s first two female lawmakers.
“Women empowerment and gender equality are very much on our agenda,” Rio added.
Kruse thanked god and hoped to work for the people. Her message to the women of Naga society was, “Be courageous, work hard and reach for your dreams.” The NDPP has got seven berths in the council of ministers and the BJP five.
The ceremony started with students of the Kohima Music Academy singing the national anthem, followed by a prayer of invocation by the pastor of Kohima Ao Baptist Church and a Hallelujah chorus by the Task Force for Music and Arts (TFMA). It ended with a song by the students of TFMA.
In the morning, Modi arrived in the North-East for a two-day visit to attend the oath-taking ceremonies in Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura.
He first went to Shillong, where Sangma’s swearing in put an end to the short-lived drama around government formation. Sangma has the support of 45 lawmakers in the 60-member House.
The NPP improved its tally to 26 from 19 in 2018 polls but fell short of the majority mark. The BJP secured two seats. A day after the results, Sangma submitted a letter to the governor with the signature of 32 lawmakers, even as opposition parties tried to cobble together a coalition of their own. That effort ended on Sunday, when the United Democratic Party — the second-largest outfit with 11 MLAs in the assembly — backed the NPP, along with People’s Democratic Party with two MLAs taking the alliance’s tally to 45 seats in the 60 member assembly.
In Tripura, the BJP staked claim to form the government on Monday after Manik Saha was re-elected as the party’s legislative leader, capping some uncertainty over his continuation as CM. The BJP won 32 of the 60 seats in the assembly and its ally, the Indigenous People’s Party of Tripura won one.
Modi flew back to Guwahati late on Tuesday and chaired a meeting of the Assam cabinet. The progress and implementation of developmental schemes in Assam was discussed at the meeting, people familiar with the matter said.
He will attend the oath taking ceremony of the new Tripura cabinet on Wednesday before flying back to Delhi.