Says will not appoint Parl Secretaries
Kohima, March 8: Newly sworn in Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio today promised to bring development and work hard for early settlement of Naga political issue.
“We want development and we will work very hard to facilitate Naga political issue to bring settlement at the earliest,” Rio said while quickly responding to media queries after the first public swearing in ceremony held at Kohima Local Ground, better known as Khouchiezie here.
Also addressing media persons after holding the first cabinet meeting in the Secretariat, Rio said Naga political issue is our top most agenda and we will be an active facilitator, try to bring all the people together.
“The PDA government will have a Naga Political Wing Affairs Committee to pursue and contact the other groups to join the negotiation because we want a settlement which is workable, acceptable and honourable to the people,” he said.
“We are making a good progress though it is taking time… if we accelerate and we understand the situation, the solution can come about sooner than later,” Rio said.
The CM also expressed ignorance on achieving solution within next few months, saying “Nobody can say definitely when it will come”. He also mentioned that Naga people wanted solution before election and it was also passed in the State Assembly but it could not be achieved.
They, both NSCN(IM) and six NNPGs, are having ‘very aggressive talks’, he said while asserting that as he has just taken over he would go into the details and as a facilitator “we will see how we can facilitate and what we can discuss and share to achieve solution”.
On less cabinet berth taken by NDPP, Rio said “our share is being given to JD(U) and Independent”.
“We (NDPP) under performed as we did not get what we expected during the polls,” he said, adding that “BJP had done very well… they had over performed and we are happy for that and therefore there is no problem for us with the present arrangement”.
Highlighted about the withdrawal of support NPP despite his claims that they are with the PDA, Rio clarified that during Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma’s swearing in the State NPP President had given support but due to some misunderstanding they withdrew support.
But today during the oath taking ceremony, where Conrad Sangma was also present, Rio said he had personal talks with Conrad in the presence of State President and the elected MLAs and they have agreed to support the PDA government taking the total member in PDA to 34.
Asked whether he would appoint parliamentary secretaries as has been the trend in Nagaland, Rio said, “the law says it clearly that there cannot be Parliamentary Secretaries.” Citing the case of Delhi AAP government, Rio said “we don’t intend to go against the law of the land and we will not be appointing Parliamentary Secretaries”.
Nonetheless, responding to another query if stability could be achieved without appointing Parliamentary Secretaries, Rio said “We are having discussions with the legal luminaries and also taking consultations with BJP to work out some devise and method”.
“We are a small state and downsizing has affected us… we are also tribal state and unless all the tribes are represented it is very difficult to function,” he said.
On TR Zeliang attending the swearing in ceremony, Rio said “though he has resigned, he is still a friend to me and also to any other friends present and not an enemy”.
Rio also informed that distribution of portfolios to his council of ministers would be decided within a day or two.
Revealing that the Budget session for the new House would commence from March 13, Rio said “former minister and re-elected BJP member, Mhonlumo Kikon would be the pro-tem Speaker”.
On the decentralisation of the funds, Rio said the funding pattern has changed from Planning Commission to Niti Aayog and now it all depends on the Chief Minister how to distributes funds depending on equal share or priority schemes.
“The Cabinet headed by CM have to do justice to all the departments… fund is coming and more funds will come and all depends on how we judiciously and equitable distribute,” he said.
Recalling that Prime Minister had announced special package for ENPO area, Rio said we will be able to decide only after properly settling down.
“With me as CM, I will see that justice is done and we will set up our priorities and see that people gets relieved,” he assured. (Page News Service)