Kohima, Feb 26
The voting for Nagaland Assembly elections for 59 seats will be held on Monday in single phase, deciding the fate of 183 candidates.
Polling will be held from 7 am to 4 pm on Monday while counting of votes will be taken up on March 2.
After the high-decibel campaign which was mark-ed by bitter political attacks and promises of development as well as employment, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) is looking to retain power in the State.
The BJP and NDPP are contesting the elections on a 20:40 seat-sharing arrangement while the Naga People's Front (NPF) and Congress are contesting in 22 and 23 seats respectively.
The BJP in Nagaland has already opened up its account in the State ahead of the polls as the party candidate Kazheto Kinimi won from the Akuluto seat uncontested after the Congress candidate withdrew his candidature.
After the withdrawal of candidature by Khekashe Sumi, the Nagaland Assembly elections will witness a total of 183 candidates, in the fray.
The candidates vying for the State polls include 20 from BJP, CPI (1), INC (23), NCP (12), NPP (12), NDPP (40), NPF (22), RPP (1), JD (U) (7), LJP (Ram Vilas) (15), RPI (Athawale) (9), RJD (3), and Independent (19).
It is pertinent to mention only four out of 183 candidates in the fray this time are women. Since it was established in 1963, the State of Nagaland has seen 14 Assembly elections -- but never a woman MLA.
A total of 13,17,632 voters, out of which 6,61,489 are male electors, and 6,56,143 are female will exercise their franchise to decide the fate of political parties and to elect their representatives to the 60-Members Nagaland Legislative Assembly.
Among the key constituencies are Northen Angami, which will determine the poll fate of NDPP candidate and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio; Tiyu where Deputy Chief Minister Yanthungo Patton is seeking re-election; Peren where two-time Chief Minister TR Zeliang will be contesting the election as NDPP candidate.
Nagaland BJP chief Temjen Imna Along will contest from Alongtaki seat. In the present Government, he is also serving as a Minister of Higher and Technical Education. Only Janata Dal (United) has fielded its candidate J Lanu Longchar from this seat.
Ghaspani is another seat that is attracting all the eyeballs. BJP has fielded N Jacob Zhimomi and Akavi N Zhimomi is in fray as Congress candidate.
Phek is another constituency to watch out for in the elections. NPF leader Kuzholuzo Nienu will be contesting from this seat. While the NDPP has fielded Kupota Khesoh, Congress has given ticket to Zacilhu Ringa Vadeo and S Akho Leyri is a NPF candidate.
In Dimapur-III, where NDPP candidate Hekani Jakhalu is in fray, newbie Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) has given ticket to Azheto Zhimomi from this seat.
The other major constituencies are Dimapur-I, Southern Angami l, Southern Angami II, Chozuba, Koridang, Koridang, Bhandari, Sanis, Zunheboto, Kohima, Western Angami, Longleng, and Seyochung Sitimi
The legislative leader of the NPF, Kuzholuzo Nienu is another candidate to watch out for in the elections. He is set to contest the elections from his home seat Phek.
The high-voltage campaign by the BJP saw public rallies addressed by various tall leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president JP Nadda, Union ministers Sarbananda Sonowal, Kiran Rijiju, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other. NDPP campaigners and Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio was seen doing public rallies in almost all the constituencies. NPF leader Kuzholuzo Nienu has declared he is open to post-poll alliance with other parties and candidates.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also addressed an election rally in Dimapur while party MP Shashi Tharoor addressed a rally in Kohima. The Congress has also announced that they can opt for post-polls alliance if required. The counting of votes will be done on March 2. Asian News International