By :Pradeep Pareek
Dimapur (Nagaland): Naga People’s Front (NPF) president and former chief minister Shürhozelie Liezietsu today defeated his rival, an independent candidate Kekhrie Yhome in the bye-poll for the 10 Northern Angami-I Assembly constituency, with a difference of 3470 votes.
With today’s win the ‘octogenarian regionalist’ has made a record of entering the Nagaland Legislative Assembly for the ninth time. For the first time Shürhozelie victoriously contested from this seat in the year 1969 and maintained his victory in the elections later held in 1974, 1977, 1982 and 1987. He was defeated in 1989 only.
But once again he maintained his victorious journey by winning in the polls held in 1993. The winning sequence was again maintained in the year 2003 and 2008. And then in the year 2013 he choked out his retirement plan from politics and let his son Khriehu join active politics.
Liezietsu contest from his ‘home’ constituency. Khriehu also won the elections of 2013 only to resign in favour of his father on May 24 last to become member of the Assembly.
The battle was already in favour of Shürhozelie from the moment the counting started this morning at 8 am he continued his lead while his first timer rival Yhome, gave him a good chase and secured 4568 out of the total 12, 678 of polled votes.
The 81-year winner got 8038, which is 63.40 percent of votes polled while the 41-year old Human rights activist-cum-academician secured 36.03 percent with 4568. The total number of electorates in the constituency is 16,263.
72 votes which is 0.57 percent were counted as NOTA (None of the above). In the 23 postal ballots, Dr Liezietsu got 12; Yhome 10 and 1 was rejected.
Both, Dr. Shürhozelie and Kekhrie are from same Khel of Kohima village.
Liezietsu had become the chief minister on February 22, 2017 replacing NPF colleague TR Zeliang, who again ousted him in a rebellion on July 19 last.
But even as Shürhozelie had filed his nomination papers, a section of NPF legislators led by Zeliang revolted against him, leading to his ouster on July 19, hardly 10 days ahead of the by-election.
Shürhozelie, who practically retired from active politics in 2013 and preferred to remain only president of the NPF, had to step in due to resignation of Zeliang as chief minister in February this year.
NPF has literally suffered a split, which is yet to be formally accepted and Shürhozelie removed from the CM post, he managing to win the election with a comfortable margin has no doubt boosted the morals of his supporters.
The 'Victory' was celebrated in grand manner in the Shürhozelie camp, which started with 'Thanks Giving Programme' at Rüleizou, near IG Stadium, Kohima at noon. NPF working president Huskha Yepthomi chaured the programme while KG Kenye MP Rajya Sabha, also the Secretary General of NPF delivered the introductory speech
None of the political parties including Congress decided not to field any candidate against him, leaving only Kekhrie Yhome, in the fray
Photo courtesy : ST