Stage set for electoral battle

Kohima, Feb. 9: On the last day of withdrawal of candidature today, 188 candidates were in the fray for the February 23 Assembly election in Nagaland of the over 200 candidates who had filed nominations.

Chief elector officer J. Alam said the Naga People's Front (NPF) had fielded candidates in all the 60 constituencies, the Congress in 57 seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) in 15, the BJP in 11, the Janata Dal (United) in three, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in two and the United Naga Democratic Party (UNDP) in one. There are 39 Independents.

There is a straight fight in 20 constituencies and a triangular contest in 18 seats. There are four candidates in 18 seats, five in two constituencies and six in two seats. Sanis and Bhandari constituencies in Wokha district have six candidates each.

There are only two woman candidates 'Yangerla Ao (Independent) in Mokokchung town constituency and BJP candidate Rakhila in Tuensang Sadar-II constituency in Tuensang district.

Area wise, the largest constituency is Tenning. Ghaspani-I has the largest electorate with 58,269 voters. The smallest constituency electorate wise is Mokokchung town with 5,788 voters.

The state has 2,023 polling stations ' 821 sensitive and 662 hyper-sensitive.

Altogether 2,600 EVMs will be used in the polls.

The state has 1,428 villages and 26 towns. Altogether 11,92,377 voters will exercise their franchise to elect 60 members.

Some of the prominent Naga politicians in the fray are CLP leader Tokheho Yepthomi from Dimapur-III; former chief minister K.L. Chishi (Congress) from Dimapur-I; PCC president S.I. Jamir from Dimapur-II; C. Apok Jamir, son of former chief minister S.C. Jamir, on a Congress ticket from Mokokchung town; Khekiho Zhimomi (NPF) from Ghaspani-1; Dimapur Lok Sabha MP C.M. Chang (NPF) from Noksen in Tuensang district; former CLP leader I. Imkong (Congress) from Jangpetkong; and chief minister Neiphiu Rio (NPF) from Northern Angami-II.

Speaker Kiyanilie Peseyie (NPF) will contest from Western Angami, former finance minister K. Therie (Congress) from Pfutsero in Phek district, former PCC president K.V. Pusa from Southern Angami-II and former Speaker and home minister (UNDP) from Pfutsero.

There were reports of poll-related violence in Wokha and Mokokchung districts.

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