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Senior politician Neiphiu Rio back as Nagaland CM

Press Trust of India  |  Kohima 

NDPP Neiphiu Rio, who gave music the status of an industry in Nagaland, has always stayed in tune with the times. Today, as the of the state for the fourth time, he scored a new record.

The first chief in to have won three elections in a row, assumed office for the fourth time in the northeastern state, as saffron flags fluttered across the capital to underline his partys alliance with the

The former of the (NPF), Rio, 68, who served as chief in 2003, 2008 and 2013, is one term short of the record set by S C Jamir, now Odisha governor, who headed a government five times.

Often described as one of the tallest leaders of Nagaland, survived an assassination attempt when a group of armed people ambushed his motorcade at Dimapur in on May 20, 1995. He was then the

His was killed and several of his bodyguards were injured.

Rio, who, according to the is the richest in with assets worth over Rs 36 crore, belongs to the Angami Naga tribe.

Born in 1952 to the Late Guolhoulie of Tuophema village in district, his early education was at the (now Baptist High) in and then in Purulia, He went for higher studies to in Darjeeling and then to Arts College.

He joined as a young man, and first became the of the Youth Wing of when he was barely 22.

Rio contested as an in the 1987 polls from seat, but was defeated.

He contested in 1989 on a (I) ticket and was made Minister for Sports and School Education and subsequently became a for Higher and Technical Education, Art and Culture.

From the same constituency, he was re-elected as a candidate in 1993 and then elected unopposed in the 1998 Assembly election. Earlier Minister for Works and Housing, he was appointed

Differences cropped up with the over time, prompting him to step down as an MLA on November 7, 2002, angered over a publication, 'Bedrock of Naga Society'.

He joined the then almost-defunct (NPC) and revived it. He re-christened it the Nagaland People's Front, now (NPF).

Rio successfully contested from the Northern Angami -II seat in 2003 on an NPF ticket. He was elected of the of Nagaland (DAN) and appointed till President's Rule was imposed on January 3, 2008.

Re-elected from the same constituency as an NPF candidate in the 2008 Assembly election, he was of the NPF and and appointed for the second term.

Rio, who once nurtured national political ambitions, resigned as on May 23, 2014, after he was elected to the Lok Sabha.

But he soon returned to state politics, and emerged as the unopposed winner from Northern Angami-II seat after NPF candidate pulled out of the contest in the recent Assembly elections.

The National (NDPP), floated by Rio just before the Assembly elections, aligned with the to form the People's government in the state.

While the NDPP won 18 seats, the cornered 12 in the 60-member House.

The support of and JD(U)'s G Kaito Aye, who has been one of Rio's close aides, helped him oust T R Zeliang and pick up the reins of the state for the fourth time.

Under Rio's leadership, the state saw a Music Task Force, which sought to give the music industry in Nagaland a boost. In 2012, he had declared that music would be an industry in the state.

He was appointed chief minister for the third term on March 5, 2013, after getting elected from the same constituency as an NPF candidate.

Rio, who lists gardening and music as his hobbies, was also the of the in 1984 and an honorary vice of the Society in Nagaland.

The chief minister, who has travelled to 27 countries, is married to Kaisa Rio. They have five daughters and one son.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 18:50 IST