Following NPF’s massive electoral defeat in the just-concluded Assembly election, party’s secretary general Achumbemo Kikon, who was elected from 40 Bhandari Assembly constituency (AC) regretted that the election in Nagaland was all about money.
NPF had fielded candidates in 22 constituencies, but only two managed to win.
Speaking with Nagaland Post at his residence here on Friday, Kikon claimed that NPF had lost in some constituencies by very small margins, which showed that people still loved the party. He alleged that money factor was the main reason for the loss.
He disclosed that the oldest regional party had received 41 applications and, after careful scrutiny, the number of candidates was reduced to 22.
He remarked that being in the opposition for five years was not easy and said the party could not help the candidates in term of monetary support, for which the candidates focused on party manifesto, youth and women empowerment, improvement of roads, etc. Kikon, however declared that though NPF might be down for some time now, it was still not out of the game yet.
Kikon explained that NPF went alone without any pre-poll agreement with any political party as it did not want to antagonise other parties. He acknowledged that the party failed to field candidates in all the 60 seats.
He remarked that NDPP and BJP might have got the requisite numbers to form the next government but, according to him, numbers did not matter to NPF as it was more concerned about Naga political issue on which the party did not want to go wrong.
On whether the regional party would join the next government since it was part of the previous UDA government, he replied that the party would take a stand on this later.
He claimed that NPF was a very disciplined party and its functionaries did not overlap each other’s responsibilities. Hence, he said the party and parliamentary board meetings would take final call on this.
Referring to shifting of political allegiance witnessed in the past, Kikon commented that those who had left NPF already met their fate as many of them did not even get tickets, while out of those who did receive tickets, many could not win. These were the consequences of defection and people ought to learn their lessons, he added.
Further, he stressed on a strong regional party and commented that though NPF might have got just two MLAs now – Kuzholuzo (Azo) Nienu and himself – he declared that both of them would together rebuild the party, recalling that NPF has stood the test of time since 1964 onwards to date.
He cautioned that if Nagas did not have a strong regional party rooted at the grassroots, “we will all have to hang our head in shame in front of enemies”. Hence, even if defeated in electoral politics, NPF would work on ground.
He thanked the electorate of 40 Bhandari constituency for electing him with a huge margin. He also acknowledged the support from well-wishers from across the State and Naga-inhabited areas, claiming that he had received blessings from many known and unknown people.
Kikon also underlined that his win also showed that it was not money and muscle power alone that determined the fate of candidates, but “principles and ideology“.
He lamented that road infrastructure in the State was still very poor even after 60 years of Statehood, pointing out that many villages in his constituency did not have road connectivity.
He said 40 Bhandari constituency was one of the most challenging constituencies in terms of area, despite having lots of mineral resources like oil that could fuel growth in entire Nagaland.
Towards this, he appealed to the State government to develop 40 Bhandari constituency, take special interest and assured to fully cooperate as far as development was concerned.