DIMAPUR, May 15: Ruling People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) in Nagaland led by Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) launched campaign for the May 28 by-election to the lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland at Dimapur District Sports Complex in presence of alliance leaders and a large number supporters on Tuesday.
The PDA, comprising NDPP, BJP, JD (U), National People’s Party and an Independent MLA, has fielded former minister and NDPP member Tokheho Yepthomi as its consensus candidate to contest the 1-Nagaland parliamentary constituency.
Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) which has fielded former parliamentary secretary C Apok Jamir to contest the bypoll also launched its poll campaign in Kohima local ground on Monday.
NPF candidate Jamir lost the February 2018 election from Mokokchung town Assembly constituency to NDPP candidate and present minister of urban development and municipal affairs Metsubo Jamir while NDPP candidate Yepthomi was defeated in Dimapur-III constituency by NPF candidate Azheto Zhimomi.
Both PDA and NPF launched their poll campaign after none of the candidates withdrew their nomination on the last date of withdrawal on Monday. Counting of votes will be done on May 31.
The byelection will a straight contest between the PDA and NPF. The PDA has 34 members while NPF’s strength is 26 in the 60-member Nagaland House.
During the campaign launch in Dimapur, PDA candidate Yepthomi assured to devote maximum of his time, if elected, towards finding a solution to long-pending Naga political issue under the direction of chief minister Neiphiu Rio.
He thanked PDA partners for selecting him to contest the bypoll even though, he said, there were better candidates than him.
“It is a better opportunity even if for a short period,” he said, referring to the general election to the Lok Sabha due next year.
When asked whether he would be able to help the Naga cause in anyway during this short period of about 10 months and if he was sure of win, Yapthomi left it to God. “It is all in the hands of God,” he stated.
Yepthomi came down heavily on the previous NPF government for “no governance” and “no development” in the state. He was a minister in the previous government led by former chief minister TR Zeliang.
In his address, chief minister Rio mainly dwelt on strategies for the campaign that, he said, will begin from Wokha district from Wednesday.
Rio also spoke on PDA government’s target of 100 days, barring the period of the bypoll model code of conduct, to fulfill some of the promises made in its common minimum programme. He assured to deliver justice to all.
Describing Yepthomi as grassroots worker who understands the problems of the common people, he was optimistic of his win. He was hopeful that the PDA candidate would be able to deliver goods to the people of the state.
Rio appealed to the electorate to vote in large numbers in favour of Yepthomi for a better Nagaland.
Other leaders of PDA partners also spoke on the occasion.