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Advantage Rio? But he has to rein in ticket distribution chaos in BJP

Nagaland News

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI, AUGUST 4: Failure or success has always something to do with being powerless and anger.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio knows how to turn disadvantages into a huge advantage.
But his real political acumen will come under scanner soon.
There are chances of absolute chaos in ticket distribution in the BJP. Given the saffron party’s traditional functional style, out of 12 sitting legislators, at least 4 would be replaced.
The Lotus outfit had lost 8 seats in 2018 and some of it had been quite surprising and ‘last minute’ developments. KL Chishi should have made it in Atoizu while in Chizami, a strong candidate Kevechutso Doulo also lost to a relatively weaker nominee from NPF.
Veteran Chishi is out of BJP ~ as of now ~ and is perhaps also a reluctant neta to take on yet another journey of electoral contest.
In Chizami, the saffron party may repeat with Kevechutso yet again. But the sitting MLA Kezhienyi Khalo is still with the NPF and did not join the famous G-21 club.
There are interesting scenarios expected in some other segments such as Pughoboto. Dr Sukhato Sema of BJP had lost to Y Vikheho Swu of NPF by a narrow margin of record low of only 70 votes. Swu is now in NDPP and with what kind of assurance he has come to the Rio-led party remains to be scrutinized at a later stage. Swu is locally an influential leader, analysts say, because of his family background.
Dr Sukhato had made his intent clear when he wanted to contest election for BJP president in 2020 but was persuaded by central leaders to withdraw. As the saying goes ~ we will all have to wait to find what is at the end of the tunnel.
Similarly in Mon district, Tehok seat was given to BJP but the saffron party candidate Er. C Kawang Konyak had lost to CL John by a big margin. The Rio-Chingwang Konyak team may now bargain with the BJP to get this seat for its quota (among 40).
Given today’s situation and if the high command does not take much interest ~ the State unit of BJP will easily toe the Rio/NDPP line. The BJP MLAs” August 3 statement on ‘solution’ display no confidence that the saffron party would be an assertive partner.
In Wokha town, BJP’s ally JD (U) had fielded Mhonbemo Humtsoe but he lost to NPF’s Dr. Chumben Murry, who is now a NDPP legislator. This seat too would also possibly come to
NDPP’s quota provided Rio is given a freehand to draw electoral strategy by central BJP leaders.
There are a few important seats which the NDPP lost in 2018. Take for instance Koridang from central Nagaland (Mokokchung district). The seat was bagged by NPF’s Imkong L Imchen ~ now a NDPP turncoat.
Importantly, he is also a self-proclaimed admirer of Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma ~ arguably NDPP’s ‘best friend’ in the Northeast.
So, Rio may take the liberty of offering Koridang seat to the BJP and could ensure that former Minister Imkong gets a saffron party ticket.
NPP’s T Chalukumba Ao was the runner-up here bagging as much as 7397 votes as against 7525 by Imkong.
Now that the Forum of ex-legislators have made its intent clear to take the coming elections seriously, the likes of Chalukumba and others will have the option to explore new avenues.
As it is, a number of NDPP sitting legislators are hobnobbing with their ‘contacts’ in Delhi to get the saffron party’s ticket.
Another seat that could come for closer scrutiny is Tuensang Sadar-II wherein Kejong Chang of NPF had polled 6204 votes to win against NCP nominee H Zungkum Chang, who polled 4405 votes.
So either Kejong Chang may get an NDPP ticket or he too could be trying for the BJP or any other party.
In fact, as the system prevails in many constituencies, individual candidate(s)-based factors will finally decide the fate of the electoral outcome.
As of now, the NDPP and Chief Minister Rio have a big advantage. But the anti-incumbency mood is also quite strong and so chances of at least 5-6 sitting BJP legislators losing out the polls cannot be ruled out.
Left to them, the central BJP leaders may be still focused on the ‘one-MP’ State mindset and may not be very keen to fight aggressively win many Assembly seats. The focus may be 2024.
But compared to the NDPP, the possibility of BJP braving the anti-incumbency mood will be more as it would have the advantage of PM Narendra Modi’s personal image.
However, Rio on his part could have a few advantages including from his decision to announce new districts.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had added the flavour of 3 new districts – Tseminyu, Chumukedima and Niuland. Far-flung Tobu, however, had missed the bus.
On Jan 19, 2022, Shamator district was also carved out from Tuensang.
Noklak district was created on January 20, 2021.