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Last Updated:  Thursday, 6 March, 2003, 09:39 GMT
Nagaland gets new government
A new leader is due to take office in India's Nagaland state, in the country's remote north-east.

Neiphu Rio, who belongs to the Nagaland People's Front, has been sworn in as the state's next chief minister by the Governor, Shyamal Dutta.

He leads the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland which defeated the ruling Congress Party and is backed by rebels demanding an independent homeland.

Nagaland has been at the centre of one of India's longest running insurgencies and the alliance.

But in January, leaders of one of the most powerful Naga separatist groups held landmark peace talks with the Indian Government.

That move and the elections that followed raised hopes of an end to the violence that has hit the state for more than 50 years.

The Congress has been the dominant party in Nagaland for decades.

But the separatists viewed the party - especially former Chief Minister SC Jamir - as an impediment to peace.

For its part, the Congress accused the rebels of unleashing a wave of terror and clandestinely supporting the opposition.

New regime

Now Nagaland is to have a new government.

On Wednesday, Mr Rio was unanimously elected as the leader of the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland.

Naga rebels
The rebels are said to have played a major role
The alliance has a total of 38 seats in the 60 member legislative assembly, with the Nagaland People's Front accounting for 19 of them.

Other parties in the alliance include the Bharatiya Janata Party, which heads the federal government, the Nationalist Democratic Movement, the Janata Dal (U), the Samata Party and four independents candidates.

Mr Rio said the priority of his government would be to implement programmes agreed on by all his coalition partners.

He added that he would focus on developing the state and also work for the unity of the Nagas.

Analysts say the separatists National Socialist Council of Nagaland played a major role in putting together the alliance and ensuring its victory.

They said the separatists felt that the alliance was more likely to back its peace efforts to arrive at a political settlement with Delhi.

But Mr Rio has dismissed any such suggestion saying that his party had in fact done poorly in areas where the separatists enjoyed a strong presence.


SEE ALSO:
Campaigning ends in Indian states
24 Feb 03 |  South Asia
Naga rebels make poll pledge
10 Jan 03 |  South Asia
India's Naga rebel ban ends
26 Nov 02 |  South Asia
Results temper Congress poll joy
03 Mar 03 |  South Asia
Nagaland hopes for peace
25 Feb 03 |  South Asia
Nagas ask the price of peace
28 Feb 03 |  South Asia


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