Kohima (Nagaland): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) alliance and the Naga People’s Front (NPF) are slugging it out to see who will emerge more dominant in Nagaland.
The counting of votes for 59 assembly seats will begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday. The NDPP Chief and former chief minister Neiphiu Rio has already been declared elected unopposed.
He was declared a winner from the Northern Angami-II assembly seat in Kohima district after his rival withdrew his nomination.
On February 3, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju announced the BJP’s alliance with the NDPP and said the alliance will form next government in Nagaland with an absolute majority.
Rijiju also clarified that despite forging an alliance with the NDPP, the BJP was not severing its ties with the NPF, which has been its ally for last 15 years.
The NDPP contested on 40 seats and the BJP on 20 seats.
While Nagaland Chief Minister and NPF leader TR Zeliang has expressed confidence of returning to power, the exit polls have presented a different picture altogether.
The JanKiBaat-NewsX exit poll predicts that the BJP-NDPP will win 27-32 seats. It says that the NPF will win 20-25 seats and the Congress may hardly manage to win 0-2 seats.
The CVoter exit polls claimed a victory for the NDPP-BJP combine in Nagaland, which is likely to get 25-31 and the NPF likely to bag 19-25 seats.
Voting for the Nagaland Assembly was conducted on February 27. The turnout was recorded to be 75 percent.
In January, eleven parties including the ruling NPF had decided not to contest the February 27 polls, agreeing to the demand of tribal bodies and civil society groups to resolve the Naga issue first.
Out of the total seats in the House, 20 are reserved for the SC candidates, while 10 are reserved for ST candidates. The rest of the 30 seats are for General candidates. Total 196 candidates contested elections.
The key candidates in the polls are Neiphiu Rio (NDPP), Biplap Deb (BJP), TR Zeliang (NPF), Yanthungo Patton (BJP), K L Chishi (BJP) and Kewekhape Therie (INC).
On the election day, there were reports of EVM malfunctioning. There were reports of violence as well. One person was reportedly shot dead and two others were injured.
In the last Assembly polls in 2013, NPF won 38 seats, while both the Congress and Independent candidates managed 8 seats. One seat was won each by BJP and JD (U). The NCP (Nationalist Congress Party) won 4 seats. (ANI)