Kohima, Jan. 28: For someone who became a successful timber trader from a humble truck handyman, Kevise Sogotsu is not easily intimidated. Little wonder that he is facing the most powerful man in Nagaland Neiphiu Rio in a straight contest in the upcoming Assembly election.
Sogotsu, 48, born to one of the poorest families in Northern Angami-II Assembly constituency, will have a straight contest against the chief minister.
The confident Congress candidate said he had decided to contest at the behest of the people as they had been neglected for too long.
Hailing from Tchuchuma, a satellite village of Chiechema, the biggest village in Northern Angami-II, Sogotsu lost his parents when he was an infant and had to struggle hard. He was a truck handyman and in 1986, joined as a policeman in 8 Nagaland Armed Police (NAP), Naltoqha, Zunheboto. He, however, left the job.
I was a farmer for three years after I left NAP, the Congress candidate said.
He said policing was not his cup of tea and he had to come back to his village and became a farmer. He said sheer hard work pays dividend and that is how today he is a successful timber businessman in Nagaland.
He was employed as a timber salesman for six years at Kezieke, Kohima, before he ventured out for his own business. The timber shop in Kohima was owned by a Nepali.
I learnt how to do timber business from a Nepali, he said. My life is full of struggle but by the grace of the Almighty, I am a successful man today and ready to contest for my people, he added.
Sogotsu said only people like him would understand the plight of the poor.
He said his constituency is sharply divided into haves and have-nots. Poor people have become poorer and the rich have become richer, he said.
Sogotsu said for the past 10 years, only a handful of people had amassed wealth while the majority of people remained poor.
The Congress candidate said he had entered the poll fray for the sake of the poor and neglected people. I want to serve the poor, he said, adding that the Congress would be the only viable party for the state and in the Northeast for peace and progress. He said the Naga Peoples Front (NPF) is anti-poor which has done only lip service to the people in the last 10 years of its governance.
Sogotsu said unlike the NPF which has strained all relations with neighbouring states, the Congress, if elected to power, would closely work with neighbouring states for peace and progress and for a solution to the Naga political issue.
His second the priority is to create avenues for educated unemployed youths of Northern Angami-II AC.