Longleng: Three-time member of the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) and incumbent health minister S Pangnyu Phom is in for a tough fight as he battles anti-incumbency at 50-Longleng AC.
The 59-year-old Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate came to power contesting the assembly polls in 2008 on the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket and got re-elected in 2013 on Naga People’s Front (NPF) ticket before he joined BJP to contest the 2018 polls.
After three consecutive wins and 15 years of being elected as the people’s representative, Phom is now contesting for his fourth term, fighting against three other candidates namely Denngan Y Avennoho (INC), A Pongshi Phom (NCP), and Phuyan (Independent).
Speaking to EastMojo, Phenglong Phom, convenor of ‘Like-Minded Forum’, said, “We have an autocracy system in Longleng where all developmental projects are focused on a single village. Take an example of our Longleng district HQ, where there is no water supply, good roads, or basic amenities, you can only imagine the condition in the rest of the villages. We have to change this autocracy system with our votes and save our future.”
The Like-Minded Forum is a group of people, both young and old, who share a common vision for the welfare of the people of Longleng district, particularly those in the 50 A/C Longleng area.
Ahead of the polls, the group formed a movement to demand a change in leadership.
While the district has two assembly constituencies with a total of 48,891 electors, 50-Longleng AC has a total of 30,560 electors (15398 male and 15162 female).
A voter from Mongtikang village in Longleng district, on condition of anonymity, said, “We want a leader who will work for fair and equal development. In this election, we will support a leader who will work for future generations. We have given fifteen years to a particular leader but nothing has been done so far in my village and my area.”
Locals alleged that in the past 15 years, major government developmental projects and activities have been focused at Yachem village, which is the native village of the elected representative
According to the survey report on Local/Block Level Statistics for Local Level Planning 2020, published by the Directorate of Economics & Statistics, Yachem village and Yongshei village under Longleng block have the maximum number of amenities with 21 basic amenities.
The forum said that they are fighting to eliminate political nepotism in job opportunities and employment. Over the past 15 years, there has been a 90:10 difference in employment ratios between the particular village of representation and the rest of the villages in our 50 A/C Longleng, according to the Forum.
The imbalance in developmental activities, it pointed out, is alarming and pervasive, and it could lead to social tensions and unrest. “There is a fear that this political discrimination and treatment will eventually result in civil unrest, which would be tragic for a democratic country like India that upholds equality in all aspects of its constitution,” the Forum stated.
Interestingly, on December 15, the Like-Minded Forum declared Class-I contractor A Pongshi Phom as its official candidate.
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Responding to a query on what it expects from the first-time candidate, the Forum said that if their movement is successful, it will lead to a majoritarian government and that there will be the elimination of political nepotism, favoritism, discrimination, and inequality in infrastructure development.
While there could be a fight in the run-up to the state polls, it remains to be seen if Nagaland’s health minister would secure the seat for the fourth time.
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