Dimapur/Kohima/Mokokchung, March 28: In what could yet turn out to be a political masterstroke—given Nagaland politics’ existing fragile numerical equation, and the sentimental prestige that comes attached with 26-Aonglenden assembly constituency—two intending candidates on Thursday pulled out of the by-election race; and assured their respective support to the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) candidate, Sharingain Longkumer.
In separate statements, Toshipokba of the Naga People’s Front and O Tinu Longkumer of the National People’s Party declared that they were pulling out of the Aonglenden race. As per Election Commission of India’s directive, March 28 was the last date for candidates to withdraw.
According to our Kohima correspondent, the chief electoral officer of Nagaland, Abhijit Sinha told reporters late Thursday night that the two intending candidates have withdrawn their respective candidature.
Around the same time, the returning officer to 26- Aonglenden assembly constituency by-election, Abhinav Shivam told our Mokokchung correspondent that the respective proposer and election agent of the two candidates came to his office on Thursday to complete the process of withdrawal.
Theoretically, this reduces the Aonglenden contest to a straight fight between the ruling NDPP candidate and the Congress’ Alem Jongshi. But considering the candidates to withdraw from the race have pledged their support to the NDPP candidate, the contest—in truth—appears to be a case of three against one.
When contacted the president of NPF Mokokchung division, Moasangba, informed that the candidate did not inform the party about his withdrawal.
He also informed that NPF Mokokchung division has convened a meeting to deliberate on the current development and take necessary steps with consultation from NPF central office at the party’s office on March 29.
He also alleged that their candidate has no ‘party principle and lack in party ideology.’
Meanwhile, according to the chief electoral officer, there are 12,269 voters in Aonglenden covering four wards in Mokokchung town namely: Dilong, Arkong, Sangtemla and Marepkong; and three villages—Ungma, Settsu and Kubza.
Elections to the only Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland and the Aonglenden assembly constituency will be held simultaneously on April 11.
As for the Lok Sabha seat, four candidates are in the fray—Tokheho Zhimomi (NDPP), KL Chishi (INC), Hayithung Tungoe (NPP), and Dr. MM Thromwa Konyak (Independent).
More than 50 companies of security forces including the IRB and NAP will be deployed across the state for the Lok Sabha election. For the Aonglenden by-poll, almost nine companies of security personnel will be deployed at Mokokchung district, he informed.
So far, the situation is ‘quite peaceful’ and ‘no untoward incidents’ have been reported, according to the CEO.
As of March 28, authorities have seized 46,480 litres of assorted liquor worth INR 1.59 lakh. The amount of cash seized in poll-related incidents remains at INR. 69, 57,740, it was informed.