After many decades, the just concluded by-elections generated avid interest of the public on a large scale unlike other parliamentary elections in the state. It was only till the 1970s that big names fought for the lone seat from the state. The popularity of the Lok Sabha elections in the state probably was on a wane from the 1980s. The decision of the then chief minister Neiphiu Rio in 2014 to leave the chair and contest the parliamentary elections made it high profile contest. However, this time it was taken up to another level as a result of the stiff competition from the opposition parties in the state. It is like the seat in the Parliament has been just been elevated in status.
One factor is that, the state is just out of the assembly general elections and without within 2 months after government formation the EC announced the polls for the seat that was vacated by the chief minister on his return to sate politics. The opposition NPF was also ditched by the BJP during the assembly elections and the NPF with 26 MLAs had to make a statement to the BJP leadership in this present by-election. It continued with the religion card played earlier, that instead attracted the ire of the NDPP-BJP led Peoples Democratic Alliance. It prompted the ruling alliance to launch a complaint with EC a few days before the polls.
In spite of not being allotted a ministerial berth, the former Lok Sabha member had made some important strides during his nearly 4-year stay as a member of the Parliament. On every possible occasion he did not fail to remind the centre to expedite the long awaited peace deal or solution. The monitoring of various central projects up to the district level that is required to be undertaken by the MPs was an eye-opener during the time of the former MP. The work done by adopting villages under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana at least benefited some villages during his term.
As the state awaits the result of the by-poll, it is only relevant to add that at least this time any one of the candidates, whoever wins, is expected to play an important role in the centre. The two candidates Tokheho Yepthomi of the NDPP and C Apok Jamir of the NPF were actual friends turned foes. While the former is a senior legislator the later is also a former Rajya Sabha member from the state. They were among those INC legislators that got entangled in the political Tsunami that occurred in the state after Neiphiu Rio left for the Centre. Although both of them had lost in the recent assembly polls they were no doubt respected and tall leaders of the INC. Moreover, although both the parties may have used various permutations and combinations to decide on their candidatures, t his election can be a starting point. The parties in the state need to hereafter choose prominent figures for the two seats in the Parliament and not succumb to regional and tribal politics.