Nagaland Election 2023: NDPP distributes tickets, launches campaign
The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) on Friday distributed party tickets to its 40 candidates at a programme held in Capital Cultural Hall, Kohima.
The NDPP, which has struck a 40:20 seat-sharing deal with its ally BJP, also officially launched election campaign for the polling scheduled on February 27.
Party chief Chingwang Konyak led the 40 candidates into the oath-taking during the ceremony which also saw the release of NDPP’s theme and campaign songs, NDPP-BJP campaign song, and a candidate handbook.
Addressing the ceremony, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the party had a hard time choosing the candidates and that the tickets were distributed after listening to the voice of the public and assessing the report from the grassroots.
‘As committed by the NDPP in the 2018 election manifesto, a platform (ticket) has been given to two women to contest in the upcoming poll,’ he said, adding that the party had done justice to providing gender equality and uplifting women.
With the pre-poll alliance in place, he said election campaigns should be organised jointly by both the NDPP and BJP.
The chief minister said the United Democratic Alliance (UDA) government was formed for the Naga political issue and it did play its part effectively as facilitators, but a solution could not be arrived at due to disunity among the Naga nationalist groups, state leaders and the public in general.
‘However, the negotiation parties have come together now. As promised in the manifesto, when solution to the Naga political issue comes or the issue is resolved, we will pave the way for the alternative arrangement — an agreement which is honorable, acceptable and inclusive — as asserted time and again,’ he said.
Speaking about the achievements of the current government, he said changes are seen in the form of infrastructure, creation of new districts, introduction of CM health insurance and CM Micro finance scheme, two medical colleges, etc.
Chingwang Konyak said the last five years coalition government was like an experimental one due to the pandemic.
‘The NDPP is for women empowerment and youth empowerment. Accordingly, the party decided to give opportunities to women and have given two tickets this time,’ he said. Maintaining that the party has to give opportunities to the younger generations, he asked those who did not get the ticket this time to support the party’s decision.
Will be the voice of women, says Jakhalu
Hekani Jakhalu, who has been given NDPP ticket to contest from 3 Dimapur-III AC, pointed out that “there is an urgent need for women to be represented in the highest decision-making body”. She assured to give her best to be the “voice of women and to stand for our women”.
Speaking about youth empowerment, she said that if Nagaland is to progress, ‘we have to nurture and build our young people’.
NLA Speaker Sharingain Longkumer said the party ticket is not for the candidates themselves but for thousands of elders, brothers and sisters of the assembly constituencies they are representing.
‘We have a duty towards our party and responsibility towards our people,’ he said.
Feel sense of ownership — Zeliang
UDA Chairman TR Zeliang reiterated that formation of all-party UDA government last year was specifically aimed at taking forward the desire of the Naga people for an early solution to the Naga political issue.
‘Unfortunately, things could not be materialised in this current tenure. However, that should not demoralise us but rather drive us to bring success for which we have committed to the people and this should remain our priority,’ he said.
Everyone should feel and made to feel the sense of ownership and belongingness to the NDPP regardless of past events, he told the gathering.
Claiming that there is no formidable political party that poses a real threat to the NDPP-BJP alliance, he called for fighting the election with trust and respect for one other. He also expressed confidence that the NDPP-BJP alliance will form a stable government.
BJP rubbishes rumours
BJP Nagaland Chief Spokesperson Kuputo Shohe clarified that the rumours regarding the BJP setting up candidates from NDA parties against NDPP are baseless, terming it as willful intention to malign the image of saffron party as well as to jeapordize the NDPP-BJP partnership.
He claimed that the NDPP-BJP alliance will get clear majority in the ensuing Assembly election, and so there won’t be need to talk with other political parties.
“Even if we (BJP) are alliance at the Centre or not, there is no question of accommodation in the state as the local situation is completely different. This has the consent of the BJP central leaders,” he added.
Ikuto Zhimomi replaces Pukhayi
A day after announcing S Pukhayi Sumi as its candidate for the 34 Aghunato AC, the NDPP clarified that the official party candidate for the said constituency is Ikuto Zhimomi and not as mentioned earlier in its list.
Chief Minister Rio also said that sitting MLA Pukhayi Sumi had volunteered to vacate his seat on ‘health ground’, and therefore, the party ticket was given to Zhimomi.