For the lone Lok Sabha seat, the hill state of Nagaland is scheduled to go to the polls on April 16. The constituency is witnessing a direct fight between C M Chang of Nagaland People’s Front and former two term MP Asungba Sangtam of Congress though there is a candidate from Trinamool Congress. Unresolved Naga political problem and development are the main issues taken up by the various parties in fray.
The different political parties, accusing each other for not doing enough for resolving the annoyed problem are wooing the voters and promise to trail the Centre for an early settlement of the prolonged problem if they win the election.
The state also goes to by-polls on the same day in four assembly seats- Mon, Tuensang, Phek and Dimapur. All the four Congress MLAs who resigned from the assembly and joined NPF are seeking re-election from their respective assembly segments in the by-elections.
Despite the boycott calls by various organizations, the state has in the past experienced a huge voter turn-out whether it was assembly or parliamentary election. The number of electorate now touches 13 lakh with the tribal population comprising nearly 90 per cent of voters.
Although in past three decades none from Nagaland was accommodated in the Central ministry, former Chief Minister and present Maharashtra Governor S C Jamir got berth in Indira Gandhi`s cabinet in the 70s. The veteran Naga politician was also a parliamentary secretary during Nehru`s tenure.
Although political parties in their poll campaigns have promised to resolve the Naga issue, no ultimate solution has been achieved till today and the problem remains where it has always been ever since the state was formed in 1963.
At a time where the Naga integration issue assumes the centre stage, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said at a rally in Mokokchung town that the NPF stands for integration. He also appealed to the Nagas to choose the right candidate who can speak for the Naga issue in Parliament and bring a fruitful result for the people. He also said that he was optimistic that its consensus candidate CM Chang will win.
Reacting to AICC general secretary and MP Rahul Gandhi that the territorial integrity of Manipur would be maintained, Rio said, the front would strive for the integration of all Naga-inhabited areas as well as ‘recognition’ of the Nagas in Myanmar. The NSCN-IM also hit back at the Congress leader and asked him not to mix poll issues with ground realities.
It is also taken into account that the change in the political climate over the past few months in Nagaland has come after the formation of another militant outfit, the NSCN (Unification) with cadres drawn from both NSCN (Isak-Muivah) and NSCN (Khaplang).
Emphasizing that local policies, programmes and development and its focus as its primary goals, NPF president Dr. Shurhozelie Liezietsu urged to the party workers to come together and work collectively towards making a better Nagaland.
He lauded the ruling party, the DAN for doing a lot for the welfare of the state people, but came down heavily on the Congress for accusing the DAN government of unchecked corruption.
The DAN government revealed that the funds which came from the Centre are utilised accurately, referring to various development activities in the last six years, and assured that the allotted funds will do the same.
Besides, voicing the issues and the needs, all political parties have to pledge is the return of the peace and normalcy to this conflict-torn state so that the state can be launched into the route of prosperity and economic development.