Friday, December 8, 2023
Top Stories

Next question: Who is worse ‘spoiler party’ ~ LJP (RV) or RPI (A)

Nagaland News

“Is there a pattern?” ~ Can NDPP cross 20?

Nirendra Dev
NEW DELHI/DIMAPUR, FEBRUARY 10: Of the 40 seats being contested by the NDPP, RPI (Athawaley), led by another little known outfit in Nagaland, is reportedly throwing a spanner to the prospects of the ruling party in at least 3 constituencies.
These seats are Tamlu in Longleng district, Aboi in Mon and Pungro-Kiphire in Kiphire district. Of course, the ENPO stir could be also influencing voters’ mind and that way as a strategy the BJP could have taken a few seats more in this Eastern Nagaland region.
Well, wishes need not be horses, but the issue in debate is in addition to the LJP (Ram Vilas), this Maharashtra-based party RPI (Athawaley) also could make a difference in the February 27 Nagaland polls.
Ramdas Athawale leads his party and is very much part of the NDA and is at present Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment. Those doing politics and those who follow politics call these a ‘pattern’. Two Dalit-leaders led NDA-related parties could in the end holding the key to the throne in the post-March 3 permutations and combinations.
It may be early days but reports from these segments say candidates like H Nyemli Phom may spring a surprise and defeat NDPP’s Nganlang Phom in Tamlu. In 2018, Nganlang had won on NPF ticket.
In Aboi, RPI (A) candidate Wangka Konyak may make life tough for Eshak Konyak of NDPP, who had won the 2018 polls again on the NPF ticket. In Pungro-Kiphire RPI (A) nominee is former Deputy Speaker T Yangseo Sangtam and his nearest competitor could be K Yimchunger of NDPP while Congress has also fielded T Atsuba from the seat.
Former Deputy Speaker of Nagaland T Yangseo Sangtam after filing his nomination at Kiphire said that party affiliation and tickets do not matter much. “…what matters are the voters and their votes”.
There is a ‘little mess’ also as the NDPP ticket was originally supposed to have been given to Khalenmew Yimchunger but was later given to Kiusumew Yimchunger. Even LJP (RV) was candidate in the constituency for some time.
However, RPI (A) nominee for Ghaspani II Z Kasheto Yeptho’s candidature is seen with seriousness as he is pitted against sitting member and Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s brother Zhaleo Rio. The contest in this seat has become complex as Kitoho S Rotokha is now the LJP (RV) candidate in the constituency. Rotokha was earlier a JD (U) candidate.
Zhaleo’s supporters feel the division of votes between RPI (A) and LJP (RV) will ultimately help him sail through. Moreover, there will be “good wishes from well wishers as Zhaleo is the Chief Minister’s brother”.
For the NDPP of course the general contention is that the ‘real’ competition has come from LJP (RV).
But in some traditional bastions, the regional outfit led by Shurhozelie and Kuzholuzo Nienu (Azo) are likely to retain their support base. These seats will be Phek town (Azo himself is NPF candidate), Chizami (sitting member Kezhienyi Khalo) though is being debated and also seats such as Jangpetkong (Mokokchung district), Tapi (Mon district), Moka ~ also in Mon ~ and Tuensang Sadar-2.
For the NDPP two tough competitions are emerging from Satakha in Zunheboto district where G Kaito may face problems from Zheito Chophy of LJP (RV). But Kaito is 1977 debutant and is always a good manager of electoral politics.
In Phek district, at Chazouba, Dr Chotisuh Sazo of LJP (RV) in a serious contender and so is Dr. Neisatuo Mero from Pfutsero, who contesting as an Independent, is working hard to pull the carpet under the feet of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s trusted lieutenant Neiba Kronu. However, K Khamo in Chazouba as an NDPP candidate is gaining ground and may have the last laugh.
Given these complex puzzle stories and the game of snakes and ladder, the conservative estimate is NDPP may at best be able to cross its 2018 tally of 18.
If some nightmares prevail, in fact the tally could be around 15. Of course, to give the NDPP its due the party is pretty good enough and could end up in second position in more than 20 seats.
These are not prophet of doom tales, but an assessment that suggests anti-incumbency is at work and perhaps it is more so in Eastern Nagaland, especially against the NDPP.
Moreover, of the 40 seats the NDPP is contesting, the NPP may do well in 2-3 segments. One of them is Nuklutoshi from Arkakong and the other could be a pleasant surprise at Kohima town where Dr Tseilhoutuo Rhutso takes on sitting NDPP member Dr N Nicky Kire.
Vevoyi Wideo of NPP in Chizami and also W Nyeamnai Konyak in Moka may also do well in their respective constituencies.