Naga People's Front to field 10 candidates for Manipur Assembly polls

Kohima: The Naga People’s Front (NPF) party on Monday announced its decision to contest from 10 seats in the forthcoming Manipur Assembly polls.

Addressing a press conference at the NPF central office in Kohima, Achumbemo Kikon, Secretary-General NPF, informed that the candidates were shortlisted by the party’s Working Committee (WC) after recommendations were submitted by the Ticket Selection Committee.

The 10 intending candidates were shortlisted out of 40 applicants, the party tickets for which will be handed on February 2 at the party office. 

He said that out of 11 constituencies in the “Naga-dominated” areas of Manipur, covering the districts of Senapati, Ukhrul, Chandel, and Tamenglong, the NPF will be not be contesting for the 54 Nungba Assembly Constituency (AC) under Tamenglong district, as there are no strong contenders from the party to contest for the seat. 

Out of the 11 constituencies, 3 each fall under the districts of Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel, while two constituencies fall under Chandel district.

The 10 candidates that will contest in the Assembly polls with the NPF party ticket include the party’s four sitting MLAs – 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).

Besides the 11 constituencies, he said that the party has its enrollment and influence in 25 constituencies with sizeable number of Naga voters and Non-Naga supporters.

However, Kikon said the party will be contesting only in the Naga-dominated areas as its focus is on bringing lasting solution to the Naga political issue and peace in the Northeast region. At present, the NPF in Manipur occupies four seats in the state legislative Assembly with two MLAs in the state cabinet as part of chief minister N Biren Singh’s BJP led coalition government.

While there is no “open alliance” for the forthcoming election, Kikon hinted for a post-poll alliance with the BJP as there is a “certain level of understanding” between the two parties, which will likely continue depending on the election results. 

Although the NPF has “no enmity” with any political parties in Manipur, he said their understanding is with the BJP. As for the Congress party, he said that the party’s policies and attitude towards people in the Manipur hills is “not friendly”. 

During the WC’s meeting on Monday, he said that the house also resolved to invite Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio led Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) to “come together” to an understanding, refusing to comment further on the same.

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