Kohima: Amid the Naga People’s Front (NPF) party ticket row in Manipur, 10 intending candidates received their ticket to contest in the upcoming Manipur polls, during a grand ticket distribution ceremony held at the NPF central office in Kohima on Wednesday.
The NPF will contest in 10 Assembly constituencies which fall under the districts of Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel. Those who received the party ticket include the four sitting Members of the Manipur Legislative Assembly- Leishiyo Keishing for 43 Phungyar AC (ST), Khashim Vashum for 45 Chingai AC (ST), Losü Dikho for 48 Mao AC(ST), and Awangbow Newmai for 52 Tamei AC(ST).
The other intending candidates are Langhu Paulhring Anal for 41 Chandel AC (ST), Dangsawa Korungthang Maring for 42 Tengnoupal AC (ST), Ram Muivah for 44 Ukhrul AC (ST), Khoho Süle Antony for 47 Karong AC (ST), Francis Ngajokpa for 49 Tadubi AC(ST), Khangthuanang Panmei for 53 Tamenglong AC (ST).
After the NPF party announced the list of candidates on Monday, tension erupted in some parts of Manipur as supporters of a candidate who was denied the party ticket staged a protest and burnt the party flag.
Senior leader W Morung Makunga of Tengnoupal constituency also tendered his resignation from the primary membership of the party after his name did not feature in the list of 10 candidates.
NPF president Shürhozelie Liezietsu said “This time we received more applications for tickets. All the aspiring candidates are equally good but since we have only one ticket for each Assembly constituency, we could not accommodate many.”
During the ticket distribution ceremony, he said it does not mean that those who were denied the tickets were not qualified. “But to a great extent, the committee took various factors into consideration apart from the integrity, personality or capability of the individual candidates concerned,” he said.
Liezietsu hoped that those who were denied the tickets would not misunderstand but rather appreciate the processes that took place which were more or less circumstantial. “I expect all of you to maintain the true spirit of this political party to the end,” he added.
Lok Sabha MP and chairman of the Ticket Selection Committee Dr Lorho S Pfoze told the gathering that the selection of the 10 candidates out of over 40 applicants was a “very tough” exercise. He said that ahead of finalizing the list, numerous consultations were held with the local community.
While it is a great task achieved, he said, the party, which is about a decade old in Manipur politics, is growing from strength to strength and that the number of people who sought the party ticket shows the impact the party has made over the years.
The parliamentarian said he NPF is more than just a political party in Manipur. He said the party has become like a lifestyle as the principles of the party remain dear to the Nagas in Manipur. As he wished the best to the intending candidates, he advised them to befriend their contenders and understand the sentiments of the local community.
Leader of the NPF Legislature Party TR Zeliang said that although it must have been a painful decision to deny tickets to some, it is at trying times such as this that shows the loyalty of the party workers.
For the ones who refused to work for the party and resigned after tickets were denied, he called them “opportunist”. He acknowledged the candidates who continue to work for the party despite being deprived of the party ticket this time.
As the party prepares to contest in 10 constituencies, he hopes that the party will emerge victorious, confidently declaring that the party will be a deciding factor in the upcoming Manipur Assembly polls.
He also said the NPF in Nagaland will be coordinating with the political parties in the state to join in the election campaigns.
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