Kohima: The stage is set for assembly polls in Nagaland, where over 13 lakh voters will decide the electoral fate of 183 candidates contesting in 59 out of a total of 60 seats on Monday.
The ruling Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the BJP are contesting the polls on a 40:20 seat-sharing basis. The Congress, which ruled the state till 2003 and does not have any member in the current House, has fielded 23 aspirants.
Polling will be held from 7 am to 4 pm, while counting of votes will be taken up on March 2.
The Akuluto seat in Zunheboto district was won uncontested by BJP nominee and sitting MLA Kazheto Kinimi.
The NDPP had allied with the BJP and formed government in the northeastern state in 2018, with backing from the JD(U) and an Independent. In 2021, the Naga People’s Front (NPF) joined the ruling NDPP-led alliance to form an all-party government named United Democratic Alliance (UDA).
The NDPP-BJP combine is seeking a mandate for the second term, with Neiphiu Rio as the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance.
The NPF, which won 26 seats in the last assembly polls, has fielded candidates in 22 seats, but one of them withdrew, leaving 21 in the fray.
NPF leader Kuzholuzo Nienu has declared he is open to post-poll arrangements with other parties and candidates.
The Congress has asserted it would not align with the BJP to form the next government, but it could join any like-minded secular front.
The National People’s Party (NPP) and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have fielded 12 candidates each.
Newbie in Nagaland politics, Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) has put up as many as 16 candidates, while the Republican Party of India (Athawale) has fielded eight aspirants.
A total of 19 nominees will contest as Independents.The electors include 6,47,523 male and 6,49,876 female voters, who are eligible to exercise their franchise in 2,291 polling stations.
“All arrangements are in place and we are confident that the elections will be conducted smoothly,” Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nagaland V Shashank Shekhar said.
Four-time Chief Minister and NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio will lock horns with greenhorn Seyievilie Sachu of the Congress in the Northern Angami-II seat.
Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton is seeking re-election for the third consecutive time from the Tyui seat, where he is pitted against Nagaland JD(U) president Senchumo Lotha and two other opponents.