BJP wins seat even before polling

Congress candidate withdraws name in the state

The BJP has already secured a seat in the Nagaland Assembly polls as one of its 20 candidates has won uncontested after his Congress rival withdrew from the nomination for the February 27 state polls.

Chief electoral officer, Nagaland, V. Shashank Shekhar, addressing the media on Friday night, said the BJP candidate Kazheto Kinimi was declared as elected from 31 Akuluto (ST) Assembly constituency as INC candidate N. Khekashe Sumi withdrew his name on Friday, the last day of the nomination withdrawal.

Akuluto constituency, one of the 60 assembly seats in Nagaland, is in the Zunheboto district. Efforts to get a reaction from the Congress leaders proved futile but sources said the district Congress committee has urged the state PCC to look into the withdrawal issue as such practices could adversely impact the party. They said Sumi had joined the Congress last week.

There were in all 16 withdrawals, leaving 184 candidates in the fray for the one-phase Assembly polls, including the one who won uncontested.

The NDPP heads the coalition government in the state with the BJP. They had contested the polls together in 2018 and the two are once again fighting the upcoming polls together. Their seat sharing also remains the same — the NDPP is fighting in 40 seats and the BJP in 20 seats.

Kazheto, who is the sitting BJP MLA and an adviser to the state government, said in a tweet: “Beyond humbled and honoured to represent the people of Akuluto 31 A/C for a second term, as unopposed. I praise Almighty God for this privilege and extend my gratitude to my supporters, well-wishers, the karyakartas of Akuluto BJP mandal and Nagaland state BJP.”

The Congress is contesting 23 seats this time. In the 2018 election, Congress contested 18 seats but drew a blank.

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