Ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) candidate Wangpang Konyak comprehensively won the bypoll to the Tapi Assembly constituency in Nagaland on Sunday by defeating Wanglem Konyak of the Congress in a straight fight.
The bypoll was necessitated because of the demise of veteran NDPP MLA Noke Wangnao in August.
Wangpang, 39, secured 10,053 votes and beat Wanglem Konyak by 5,333 votes in the November 7 bypoll, which had registered a massive turnout of 96.25 per cent. Wanglem polled 4,720 votes.
Wanglem had fought the February Assembly poll on the Naga People’s Front ticket and lost to 10-time MLA Noke by just 82 votes.
The switch from the NPF to the Congress did not help Wanglem’s poll prospects.
The Congress has been without an MLA in the state since November 2015 when eight Congress MLAs joined the then-ruling NPF, leaving the state Opposition-less for the first time.
The Congress also drew a blank in two back-to-back Assembly polls in 2018 and 2023.
With the NDPP retaining the Tapi Assembly seat in Mon district, its tally in the 60-member House has gone back to 25 seats it had won in the February Assembly polls for a second consecutive stint in power with ally BJP.
Those familiar with the political situation in Nagaland said the Congress needs to do a lot regarding the coordination between the state unit and the AICC and funding.
They need to appoint hardworking leaders with grassroots connections and also “ensure” the North East Congress Coordination Committee plays the role for which it was conceived if the party wants to put up a fight in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls in Nagaland and elsewhere in the region. Nagaland has one Lok Sabha seat.
The NDPP currently has 25 MLAs, BJP 12, NCP 7, NPP 5, LJP (Ram Vilas), Naga
People’s Front (NPF) and RPI (Athawale) have 2 each, JDU 1 member and 4 Independents.
All of them are supporting the NDPP-BJP ruling alliance government in the 60-member Assembly.
Congratulating Wangpang, five-time Nagaland chief minister and NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio posted on X: “Heartiest congratulations to Mr. Wangpang Konyak, @NDPPofficial candidate on winning the by-election for 43-Tapi A/C. I wish him the best in serving his constituents and the people of Nagaland. I also congratulate the Party workers and well-wishers.”
Yanger Longkumer, chairperson of the communications department, Nagaland PCC, in a statement, congratulated the winning NDPP candidate and also Wanglem Konyak for having “ran a spirited and graceful” campaign. He may have come up short in the vote count, but he has won the hearts of many, the statement said.