Kohima, Feb. 11: Former CLP leader I. Imkong has lodged a complaint with the Nagaland chief electoral officer stating that two villages in Jangpethong constituency have barred him from campaigning there.
Imkong said his own village, Changki, and Kar — the two largest villages in the constituency with the highest number of Congress supporters — had put up their own candidates and had barred the party’s workers, supporters and even him from entering.
“The electioneering rights of Congress workers and supporters have been forcibly curtailed by the village councils and the workers and supporters of other candidates by sheer physical force. The village council is a statutory body and auxiliary to the district administration. However, they are acting with all impunity, regardless of the constitutional and legal rights of others. Thus, if the current situation is allowed to continue, it will vitiate the entire electoral process and the constitutionality, legality and propriety of even the elections of the elected candidate may be highly questionable,” he said in the complaint letter.
Imkong said the village councils had accused him of being the official candidate of the NSCN (I-M), asserting that such “wild, baseless and frivolous” allegations were showing him and his party in bad light.
He said the situation needed immediate action to restore the liberties of Congress candidates and workers and added that, given the developments, the village councils might force the presiding officers to allow them to vote for the whole electorate.
He also warned that the current situation could lead to serious problems in the future and demanded an immediate investigation by an impartial agency.
Congress candidate and MLA Joshua Sumi from Pughoboto constituency in Zunheboto district, too, complained to the chief electoral officer today against the NSCN (I-M)’s support for NPF candidate Vikheho Swu, the nephew of the outfit’s chairman, Isak Chishi Swu. He also submitted a video showing how militants humiliated him on Saturday at Iphonumi village under Ghathashi sub-division while he was campaigning there.
Sumi said the rebels forced them to take off their jackets, shoes and wallets and then frisked them.
The Congress in Pughoboto asked whether the Election Commission had allowed the NSCN (I-M) to be involved in the elections, while demanding adequate security forces in the constituency to ensure free and fair polls.
Pughoboto has 31 polling stations and 12,742 voters. Joshua is from Lazami, the biggest village in the constituency, having around 300 voters.