A David vs Goliath fight in Southern Angami-II Assembly constituency, where veteran Congress lawmaker K.V. Pusa is pitted against first timer Kropol Vitsu of the Naga People’s Front (NPF), has caught the attention of poll observers in Nagaland.
While Pusa, the only Congress legislator from Kohima district is trying to retain the seat, the NPF, which holds six of the seven Assembly seats in the district, is trying to sweep it.
Both the candidates come from Viswema village in the constituency.
One of the biggest villages in the state, Viswema, 20km from Kohima, takes pride in having produced several prominent public leaders, including former chief minister Vizol Angami. It has over 400 gazetted officers.
Pusa was the public relations officer of Vizol, the then chief minister, from 1979 to 1982 during the United Democratic Front government.
He resigned as a deputy secretary in the state home department in 1998 to contest on a Congress ticket in 1989 but lost.
He won as an Independent in 1993 and was re-elected on Congress ticket in 1998, 2003 and 2008.
In 2008, he had contested against NPF candidate Atha Vizol, son of former chief minister Vizol, and won by over 500 votes. He was the PCC president from 2009-10.
Vitsu resigned as an engineer in the public works department (PWD) recently to contest the election.
Southern Angami-II is one of the fastest developing constituencies in the state today. It is also known as the land of potatoes. Kidima village in the constituency has been declared “vegetable village” by the government for surplus produce of vegetables like potato, cabbage and beans, among others.
It has 17,035 voters and 33 polling stations.
The regional party even kicked off its election campaign from the constituency on February 2 with star campaigners, including chief minister Neiphiu Rio.
However, some leaders and elders of the district feel that the NPF should not try to defeat Pusa as he is Kohima’s lone Congress legislator and a veteran Naga politician.
Sources said some leaders even met Rio with the request.
Pusa has promised to ring in “peace and prosperity” in the state as a precursor to development if the Congress is elected to power.
He urged all sections of people to support the ongoing Naga peace process to herald peace in the state.
He said only the Congress could solve the Naga political problem and promised to pursue for early settlement of the matter with the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre if elected to power.
He also promised to create job opportunities for the educated unemployed youths of his constituency, uplift the downtrodden and develop agriculture and allied sectors.
A major development in his constituency, which has six villages and a town, has been surface connectivity. All the villages in the constituency have all-weather roads. “Roads will remain my priority to boost the economy of our villagers,” he said.