Campaign for Nagaland Assembly election ends, polling on Monday

Kohima: Public meetings, roadshows and door-to-door visits formed part of the Nagaland Assembly election campaigning that ended in the northeastern state on Saturday evening.

Over 13 lakh people are eligible to exercise their franchise to decide the electoral fate of 183 candidates, including four women and 19 independents, in 59 out of a total of 60 seats.

The Akuluto seat in Zunheboto district has been won uncontested by BJP nominee and sitting MLA Kazheto Kinimi.

Polling will be held from 7 am to 4 pm on February 27 while counting of votes will be taken up on March 2.

The ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and BJP are contesting the polls on a 40:20 seat-sharing basis.

The NDPP had allied with the BJP and formed the government in the northeastern state in 2018, with backing from the JD(U) and an Independent. In 2021, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) joined the ruling NDPP-led alliance to form an all-party government named United Democratic Alliance (UDA).

The NDPP-BJP is seeking a mandate for the second term with Neiphiu Rio of the NDPP as the chief ministerial candidate for the alliance.

The high-voltage campaign by the BJP saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president J P Nadda, Union ministers Sarbananda Sonowal, Kiran Rijiju, John Barla, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other leaders of the saffron party addressing public rallies.

NDPP campaigners, headed by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, also reached out to almost all the constituencies.

The NPF which won 26 seats in the last Assembly polls has fielded candidates in 22 seats but one of them withdrew on Friday leaving 21 in the fray.

NPF leader Kuzholuzo Nienu has declared he is open to post-poll arrangements with other parties and candidates.

Congress, which ruled the state till 2003 and does not have any member in the current House, has fielded 23 aspirants.

The grand old party asserted it would not align with the BJP to form the next government but would join any like-minded secular front.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge addressed an election rally in Dimapur while party MP Shashi Tharoor addressed a rally in Kohima.

National People’s Party (NPP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have fielded 12 candidates each.

Newbie in Nagaland politics, Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) has put up as many as 16 candidates while the Republican Party of India (Athawale) has fielded eight aspirants.

Others include the Janata Dal (United) 7, Rashtriya Janata Dal 3, CPI and the Rising People’s Party 1 each.

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