Kohima, Feb. 6: Political parties in Nagaland are wooing voters with long lists of promises.
This time, the main political parties, including the Naga People’s Front (NPF) and the Congress have made solution to the long-pending Naga political problem the top item of their demand lists. Other parties like the BJP, NCP, JD (U) and the RJD have assured people of good governance and an early solution to the problem.
According to political observers, apart from the Congress and the NPF, the two main players, four other parties will have little impact this time. Big players like S.C. Jamir who is a star campaigner for the Congress said his party is determined to oust the ruling NPF which he said has “cheated” the people.
Jamir’s critics within the Congress and outside have blamed him for the Congress’s debacle in the last two elections. A booklet The Bedrock of Naga Society which was authored by him and published in the name of the PCC in 2001, says sovereignty for Nagaland is a myth. The booklet had a negative impact on Congress in 2003 Assembly elections.
This year again, NPF’s star campaigner chief minister Neiphiu Rio has raised the issue. Several prominent Naga organisations, led by the Naga Hoho, still nurture a grudge against Jamir for the booklet.
The president of the NPF, Shurhozelie Lieziestu, who is out of the race this time and will be a star campaigner, has termed the Congress anti-people.
Jamir who has opted out of the fray this time in deference to wishes of the party high command said the Centre had no confidence in Rio’s government and termed the NPF a “cheating party”.
But the debate of Naga politicians on Naga political issue is unlikely to convince the voters as it has become a usual poll plank of the parties.
While Jamir will concentrate mostly in eastern Nagaland, once a strong Congress bastion, he is unlikely to make any impact on the rest of the state because of his booklet.
Jamir who is not contesting this time will have ample time to campaign for the party. The party had not projected any chief ministerial candidate this time though Tokheho Yepthomi is leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) and S.I. Jamir is president of Nagaland PCC.
The other leaders eyeing for the top post are K.L. Chishi and I. Imkong, former leaders of the CLP. Former PCC president K.V. Pusa had distanced himself from the leadership crisis in the party. For the NPF still there is no threat to Rio’s leadership. Party president Shurhozelie who is out of the fray has reposed confidence in Rio’s leadership.