| Neiphiu Rio |
Kohima, May 23: Chief minister Neiphiu Rio today resigned from the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government to pave the way for minister for planning and co-ordination T.R. Zeliang to take over the post.
Rio handed over his resignation letter to governor Ashwani Kumar this morning.
He was accompanied by chairman of DAN and president of Naga People’s Front (NPF) Shurhozelie Leizietsu and minister for roads and bridges and NPF’s chief whip Kuzholuzo Nienu.
Later in the evening, a send-off programme was held at Heritage for Rio by the state government. He thanked the people of the state for electing him to the Lok Sabha and council of ministers, parliamentary secretaries and MLAs for their support during his tenure as chief minister.
He assured them that he would work for the welfare of the state and hammer out a solution to the Indo-Naga political problem.
Rio, who came to power with a promise of transparency and accountability, will leave behind a record of alleged graft and mis-governance. He, however, said his priority at the Centre would be to work for faster development of the state and ensure uninterrupted flow of funds to the state
On the Indo-Naga political issue, the collective leaders of the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) have lauded the effort of Rio to find a solution to the problem. During DAN-II, he could bring all 60 legislators, cutting across party lines before the Union government urging an early solution.
Rio had even asked the Centre and the NSCN, led by Isak Chishi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah, to discuss Naga sovereignty issue. He suggested an interim agreement while working out the modalities for a final agreement.
Then home minister, Rio left the Congress in 2002 because of ideological differences with the then chief minister S.C. Jamir. He joined the NPF and stormed to power in 2003 with the support of the BJP and JD (U). He contested first in 1987 from Northern Angami II constituency as an Independent candidate but lost.
Rio was the first Naga to deliver a public lecture at Queen’s University, Belfast, on October 17, 2011, on governance and conflict — the Naga context. He also delivered keynote address at an international conference at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, on January 30, 2012.
He also visited Buckingham Place on July 27, 2012, on the invitation of Price Andrew.