Kohima, March 4: Chief minister Neiphiu Rio and his 11 cabinet ministers will be sworn in tomorrow at 11am at the Raj Bhavan Durbar Hall here. Governor Nikhil Kumar will administer oath of secrecy to the ministers.
The Naga People’s Front (NPF)-led Democratic Alliance of Nagaland has 40 members — 38 from NPF and one each from the BJP and JD (U). It also has the support of seven Independents and four NCP members.
Chief minister Rio was also expected to appoint over a dozen parliamentary secretaries, advisers and chairmen of different departments.
NPF sources said the list of cabinet ministers had been submitted to the governor this evening but refused to disclose the names.
Party sources, however, said the name of former parliamentary secretary for social welfare and women development Chotisuh Sazo had been proposed for the post of Speaker.
Representatives of political parties, administrative heads of departments, heads of central organisations, public enterprises, heads of NGOs and all representatives of government and private media have been invited to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
The main Opposition, Congress, which had filed a case against Sazo with the state vigilance department in connection with the alleged multicrore-rupee scam in the social welfare department, has only eight MLAs.
The Congress’s overwhelming defeat in the just-concluded Assembly election, which reduced its presence in the Assembly from 23 to just eight, was the culmination of a series of debacles in the party’s state unit since the 2008 elections.
Though the defeat might seem to be the result of the combined effect of money power and militants working against the party, the fact remains that despite claiming otherwise, the Congress here was plagued by leadership crises since the last polls.
Though the then PCC president K.V. Pusa and other senior party leaders had conducted a whirlwind tour of the state back then to clear apprehensions about the state of affairs in the party, they had achieved little.
Then came a series of sackings and appointments, with Pusa being replaced by I. Imkong, who, in turn, was replaced by S.I. Jamir.
Jamir took the Pusa route and went to the people along with CLP leader Tokheho Yepthomi but without success.
This was followed by a rift within the party, with Jamir and Tokheho leading one camp and I. Imkong, former chief minister K.L. Chishi and former PCC president Chingwang Konyak heading the other. Imkong was expelled from the party and K.L. Chishi was served with a showcause notice but the party high command in New Delhi revoked the former’s expulsion.
Then again, just before announcement of the polling date, Konyak openly declared the differences in the party and joined the NPF . He then campaigned with Rio against the Congress.
The party made another wrong move when some senior members led by former chief minister S.C. Jamir quietly met Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh in Imphal. This gave Rio the opportunity to term the trip an insult to the Naga people and it subsequently became one of the main poll planks of the NPF.
Moreover, the last-minute publicity of S.C. Jamir’s letter to the Centre before the polls further damaged the party’s image. The letter was supposedly written by Jamir, calling the NSCN (I-M) a “secessionist force” with whom, he alleged, Rio had a nexus.