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Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio: 9th CM of Nagaland turns 73 today

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Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio, born on November 11, 1950, has emerged as a towering figure in Indian politics, particularly in the northeastern state of Nagaland. Serving as the Chief Minister since 2018, his political journey is marked by dedication, resilience, and a commitment to the development of Nagaland.

Early Life and Education

Born into an Angami Naga family in Tuophema, Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio received his early education from Baptist English School, Kohima, and Sainik School, Purulia, West Bengal. His academic journey continued at St Joseph’s College, Darjeeling, and Kohima Arts College, where he graduated. Rio’s early foray into student leadership laid the foundation for a dynamic political career.

Personal Life

In his personal life, Rio is married to Kaisa Rio, and together they have five daughters and one son. His family’s political legacy continues through his brother Zhaleo Rio, who served as the Deputy Speaker of the Nagaland Assembly.

As we reflect on Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio’s journey, it becomes evident that his leadership has been instrumental in shaping Nagaland’s political landscape and aspirations for a harmonious future.

Political Career Beginnings

Entering politics at a young age, Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio contested the 1987 Nagaland Assembly elections unsuccessfully as an Independent Candidate. However, this setback did not deter him, and in 1989, he was elected to the Nagaland Legislative Assembly as a Congress (I) candidate from the Northern Angami-II constituency.

His political acumen saw him serve in various ministerial capacities, including Sports and School Education, Higher & Technical Education, Art & Culture, and Works & Housing. Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio’s tenure as Nagaland’s Home Minister from 1998 to 2002 was marked by his commitment to public service.

Formation of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN)

Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio’s resignation from the Congress (I) in 2002 led to his pivotal role in forming the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN), a coalition that ended the Indian National Congress’s decade-long rule in the state in the 2003 elections. Taking office as Chief Minister on March 6, 2003, Rio embarked on a journey that would see him re-elected multiple times.

Political Resilience and Achievements

Despite a dismissal in 2008 during the President’s Rule, Rio’s party emerged as the single largest party in the subsequent elections, leading to his reinstatement as Chief Minister. His leadership saw the Naga People’s Front secure a majority in the 2013 elections, marking Rio’s third term.

An advocate for lasting peace, Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio’s words at the memorial service for the victims of the 2021 Nagaland killings reflect his hope for understanding and enduring peace.

Contributions and Recognition

Neiphiu Guolhoulie Rio’s contributions extend beyond politics; he played a pivotal role in establishing the Music Task Force, the country’s first music industry. His outstanding leadership earned him The Mother Teresa Millennium Award in 2007.

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