Neiphrezo gets NPF ticket; no candidate from Congress
Kohima, September 24
After BJP, the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) today officially issued ticket to Dr. Neiphrezo Keditsu while the State Congress has decided not to field any candidate for the bye-election to Northern Angami-II Assembly seat scheduled for October 15. With Congress backing off from the contest, the seat will witness straight fight between the elder (NPF) and younger (BJP) of DAN coalition partners. BJP issued the ticket to retired bureaucrat Visasolie Lhoungu in Dimapur yesterday.
Congress insiders said the decision was taken in today’s meeting of the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) with its Election Committee at Congress Bhavan.
Meanwhile, NPF president Dr Shürhozelie Liezietsu officially handed over the ticket to Dr. Neiphrezo Keditsu in presence of Chief Minister TR Zeliang, former CM and sitting Member of Lok Sabha Neiphiu Rio and NPF ministers, parliamentary secretaries and MLAs and party functionaries during ticket distribution ceremony held at the Central Office Kohima today.
Addressing the mammoth gathering of party leaders and functionaries, Chief Minister TR Zeliang called upon the party leaders and functionaries to work hard to win the bye-election with a thumping majority.
He said the seat is precious as former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had represented the constituency for six terms till he went to Delhi after being elected in the Lok Sabha election in May.
Declaring Dr. Neiphrezo as consensus candidate of NPF and DAN partners, he said the contest is likely to be with DAN partner BJP as Opposition Congress is unlikely to field a candidate.
Zeliang said the contest will be a friendly one but BJP setting up candidate should not disturb the atmosphere of coalition partnership.
He also cautioned the NPF party workers both at the Kohima Division and at the constituency level that NPF candidate should win with thumping margin without turning the friendly contest into a rough one. “We should score better and win,” he said while expressing ‘firm belief’ about the NPF candidate’s win.
“We should work hard to achieve landslide victory and increase the NPF strength from 37 to 38 in the 60-member House,” he said while adding the constituency people should not only vote for Dr. Neiphrezo but also consider Neiphiu Rio (his father-in-law), who used to be elected almost uncontested from the constituency.
Touching on the merger claim and further disqualification of three NCP MLAs from the Nagaland Legislative Assembly, he said “the DAN-III led by Zeliang as CM thought that we have done justice to coalition partners, specially NCP by inducting two of them – Dr. TM Lotha and L. Khumo – as Parliamentary Secretaries and one as Advisor with Cabinet status (Imtilemba Sangtam)”.
However, he said, three of them tried to join BJP and so some critical course has taken place such as disqualification and court’s intervention. “We thought we have done justice but the three NCP MLAs wanted to do too much justice to themselves,” he said.The coalition between NPF and BJP should not be disturbed because of such development, but let the law take own course of action, he said adding “we should be firm and remain strong as coalition partners”.
Reminding that the seat is a prestige issue for NPF as the entire State would be looking at the final result of the bye-election, he called upon all to work hard with proper coordination by taking up the party policies and principles to the people.
MP Rio acknowledged NPF president and colleagues for accepting Dr. Neiphrezo’s candidature. He said Dr. Neiphrezo is ‘young, educated, active and enthusiastic to serve the people’ while asserting to work for NPF official candidate’s win. He said he had been receiving almost 90% of votes but now though there might be some erosion, yet we will not lose the seat.
NPF president Dr Shürhozelie, in his address, described Dr. Neiphrezo as ‘young and vibrant person’. He, however, said the by-election is a challenge and also testing time for all the NPF party leaders while it is also an opportunity to show our loyalty and solidarity to the party. He urged the gathering to take the bye-election as an opportunity to educate the people more about the policies and principles of the NPF party.
A staunch regionalist, Dr. Shürhozelie said “this (NPF) party represents the interest and aspiration of the people”.
Maintaining that policies and principles of the NPF party are to protect the interest of Naga people, he asked the party leaders and functionaries to be careful in their utterances. “Our actions should be based on our opinion of the ground realities and not just on imagination,” he added.
The NPF president also announced the official kick-off of election campaign will be held at Chiechama on September 30.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Neiphrezo termed it as a ‘great honour and privilege’ to have been nominated as the official candidate. He assured to give his best to come out victorious while expressing confidence in the leadership of NPF president and Chief Minister TR Zeliang. He also asserted to uphold the NPF manifesto once elected to the prestigious seat.
Chairing the ceremony, NPF secretary general KG Kenye said the official candidate would file nomination in the Returning Officer’s chamber at 11 am on Thursday. He also asked the party leaders and workers to be aware of the election code of conduct which is already in force.
State Chaplain Reverend K Luruo offered the dedicatory prayer for the NPF candidate Dr. Neiphrezo Keditsu while invocation prayer was pronounced NPF vice president Tsumongo Ovung. NPF working president Apong Pongener tendered the vote of thanks.
Will sincerely work for the constituency: Dr. Neiphrezo
Officially receiving the NPF ticket to contest the ensuing Northern Angami-II Assembly Constituency bye-election, Dr. Neiphrezo Keditsu held Thanks Giving and Blessing programme at Hotel Vivor here today.
Addressing the jam-packed conference hall of the hotel with thousands of supporters sitting around the complex, Dr. Neiphrezo thanked the 11th Northern Angami-II A/C officials and Kohima Division NPF officials for recommending his candidature to the Central Office.
Acknowledging their support, he said, “I have concern for you and once elected will surely work for uplift of the villages in the constituency and the State in general”.
He also reposed faith on all of them to be victorious while appealing the constituency people to cast their precious votes for him.
Mentionably, the NPF official candidate also received a major boost as the 2013 State general election Congress candidate for NA-II A/C Kevise Sogotsu has joined him. The official declaration was made by Kevise during the programme, wherein he said “in the past I have spoken and worked against former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, who had been representing the constituency till his election as MP. But, Rio as a true leader had not shown any disregard towards me”. “Therefore, considering his good quality leadership and also accepting the policies and principles of the NPF Party, I decided to join NPF to support Dr. Neiphrezo’s candidature for the bye-election,” he said.
Supporters of BJP and Head GB of Chiephozobou Neikedu also joined NPF and spoke in support of Dr. Neiphrezo’s candidature.
Rev. Kiezotuo Zhale pronounced blessing upon Dr. Neiphrezo’s candidature.
NPF 11-NA-II A/C president Peter Kuotsu chaired the programme while sports secretary Roko Soliezou delivered the welcome address. General secretary Vibeiletuo highlighted the election code of conduct.