Political parties yet to decide on by-election candidates

Correspondent KOHIMA, OCT 3 (NPN) | Publish Date: 10/3/2020 12:26:38 PM IST

With by-polls to the 14-Southern Angami-1 and 60 Pungro Kiphire assembly constituencies scheduled on November 3, political parties in Nagaland have yet to take a call on fielding their candidates. The ruling PDA chairman and NDPP president, Chingwang Konyak informed Nagaland Post that a decision will be taken after consultations with its coalition partner, BJP. 

State BJP president and PDA co-chairman, Temjen Imna Along informed that the party was yet to make any decision in this respect. He said a decision will be made after consultations with BJP legislature party leader and deputy chief minister Y. Patton and others after their return from Delhi. 

Meanwhile, opposition NPF party secretary general, Achumbemo Kikon informed his party was yet to take any decision regarding the by-elections. Congress party leaders could not be contacted till the time of filing this report.

It may be recalled that by-poll to the 14-Southern Angami-I constituency was necessitated after the demise of sitting NDPP legislator and Speaker Vikho-o Yoshu; while the 60-Pungro Kiphire seat fell vacant after the demise of sitting NPF legislator T. Torechu. After the two seats fell vacant owing to the demise of sitting MLAs, the strength of the NPF was reduced to 25 while the NDPP was reduced to 20.

Both NDPP and BJP are pre-poll allies who formed the Progressive Democratic Alliance (PDA) for the 2018 assembly election in a seat-sharing agreement of 40:20 seats.

NDPP contested in 40 constituencies and won 18, while BJP contested in 20 constituencies and won 12 seats. The NPF contested in 58 constituencies and won in 26 while JD(U) and an independent won one seat each. The nascent National People’s Party contested in 25 and won in two. 

In March 2019, NPP MLAs- Imnatiba Jamir (13-Arkakong A/C) and Khumo Khiamniungan (57-Thonoknyu A/C) merged with the NDPP. Later, in June 2019, lone JD(U) legislator, G Kaito Aye also merged with the NDPP.

The by-poll has not unexpectedly, given rise to demands by party members of PDA constituents-NDPP and BJP- to set up a candidate at least to the 60 Pungro-Kiphire assembly constituency following the demise of the sitting NPF legislator. While the NDPP would like to contest both the seats, sources said BJP party workers were insisting that BJP set up a candidate since the seat was allotted to it as part of the 2018 seat sharing arrangement. 

Going by the seat sharing arrangement, NDPP will contest the 14 Southern Angami-I and BJP the 60 Pungro-Kiphire constituencies. As for the NPF, it held the 60 Pungro-Kiphire seat and was expected to fight the by-poll to retain the seat.  There are also speculations that if by-polls are held, then it could mean that the expected solution to the Naga political issue may be delayed. However, in the eventuality of a solution, ECI could further postpone the bypolls.

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