Interpreting mandate

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/10/2018 12:39:10 PM IST

 What BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav has claimed while giving his speech at the BJP Nagaland state unit’s 7th State Executive meeting at Town Hall in Mokokchung town on October 9 raised some interesting points. Ram Madhav used to be a thick comrade of former NPF chief minister T.R. Zeliang and stood through thick and thin with the latter against Neiphiu Rio since 2014 till 2017 when they both found themselves on opposite sides in the run up to the Nagaland assembly election in February 2018. Circumstances put both Ram Madhav and T.R. Zeliang on different camps and Ram Madhav and Neiphiu Rio on the same side after NPF refused to accede to more than five seats to BJP. While BJP would have been satisfied with even with ten seats from NPF, Neiphiu Rio however proved more astute and offered the saffron party 20 seats. The BJP in Nagaland surpassed itself in Nagaland by winning 12 seats. It had won 7 in the 2003 election. Whether it was a case of Dr. Shürhozelie letting the emotions run high or a gross political miscalculation of the NPF’s capability, the fact is that today, Neiphiu Rio has made the BJP smile and also earned the goodwill of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. What Madhav said in his speech in Mokokchung was that people had rejected the NPF in 2018 or in other words, the BJP and NDPP won the mandate. The statistics however tell a different story. In the 2018 election, the NPF contested 58 seats and won 26 by polling 3,89,912 votes. The Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) contested 40 seats, polled 2,53,090 votes and won 18 seats . The BJP contested 20 seats, polled 1,53,864 votes and won 12 seats. The National People’s Party(NPP) on its maiden election in Nagaland, surprisingly contested 25 seats and polled 69,506 votes and won two seats.The JDU contested 13 seats, polled 45,089 votes and won one seat. Eleven independents also were in the fray and all of them polled a total of 43,008 votes and won one seat. The once dominant party in Nagaland politics since 80s, the Congress miserably failed to put up any semblance of being relevant when it contested 18 seats and polled only 20,752 votes and scored a duck, for the first time ever in the party’s history in Nagaland. What eventually happened after results were declared, was perhaps not reflective of the voter’s choice. No party received the mandate and coming to power through whatever ways and means does not mean that the voters gave their mandate to that combination. The vote share as above would indicate that NPF polled the most votes (39%) for any party. This was because the party contested the highest number of seats (58). The NDPP (25.5%) and BJP (15.3%) together polled around 40% votes. In terms of success rate, the NPF was 44% while NDPP was 45% and BJP a whopping 60%. The new entrant NPP had a success rate of 8% and JDU scored 7.6 %. This indicates that the 2018 election was therefore a fractured mandate. There is also speculation that BJP believes that it can fill the vacuum left by the Congress in Mokokchung district. That is why BJP is eyeing the district as a future base along with some districts under ENPO. 

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