Unresolved Naga Problem Key Issue in LS Polls

Unresolved Naga Problem Key Issue in LS Polls
Election in the lone Nagaland Lok Sabha constituency has always been dominated by the unresolved Naga political problem.

Any party which aspires to represent the state to Parliament makes promises to resolve the issue in a bid to get voter support, but the problem remains where it has always been ever since the state was formed in 60s.

The constituency is witnessing a direct fight between C M Chang of NPF and former two term MP Asungba Sangtam of Congress in the April 16 parliamentary poll, though there is a candidate from Trinmool Congress too.

Both the main contending parties are wooing the voters accusing each other of not doing enough for resolving the vexed problem and both promise to work sincerely for pursuing the Centre for early settlement of the protracted problem if they win the election.

The state also goes to by-polls in four assembly seats.

Whether it was assembly or parliamentary election, every electoral exercise has experienced large voter turn-out in Nagaland despite boycott calls by underground organizations.

Till the emergence of the Congress into political arena of Nagaland in late seventies, this seat was represented by either of the two regional outfits.

Although in past three decades none from Nagaland was accommodated in the central ministry, former chief minister and present Maharashtra governor S C Jamir got berth in Indira Gandhis cabinet in the 70s.

The veteran Naga politician was also a parliamentary secretary during Nehrus tenure.

With the emergence of Congress, the regional politics also gathered its strength in electoral politics and by and large both the contenders captured the lone parliamentary seat equally in the past three decades.

Riding on the Janata wave during emergency era Rano Seiza, only lady parliamentarian from the state till date, wrested this seat with a landslide victory which further strengthened the regional politics in the state.

The Congress wrested the seat in 1998 parliamentary election when the party was in power in the state but this poll was boycotted by other political parties under a peculiar political circumstance. I

In the next years election, the Congress retained the seat in a triangular contest which was also fought by BLP, the first foray into Nagaland electoral politics.

But in 2004, NPF swept the poll with a record margin of victory. However, its MP voted in favour of Congress during the trust motion last year in Parliament defying the regional partys whip.

Beginning with hardly three lakh voters in early sixties, the number of electorate now touches 13 lakh with a sizeable number of young voters who are key to the electoral fortune of a candidate. Nearly 90 per cent of voters comprise the tribal population in the state.

Much depends on a political contender's ability to convince village or community elders who generally take decisions for the entire village to whom they should extend their support based on local issues.

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