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This article was first published 1 year ago  » News » Nagaland polls: Thin win margins a threat to BJP national spokesman's 3rd term

Nagaland polls: Thin win margins a threat to BJP national spokesman's 3rd term

By Sushmita Goswami
February 19, 2023 11:35 IST
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Mmhonlumo Kikon has everything going for him -- he is the party's national spokesperson, a published poet, and an advisor in the outgoing government.

IMAGE: BJP national spokesperson Mmhonlumo Kikon. Photograph: ANI Photo

Except for the anti-incumbency factor and dissidence among some of his former core associates, the Bharatiya Janata Party legislator could have almost surely been looking for a third straight term from Bhandari constituency in Wokha district.


Also, the thin winning margins of his last two successful campaigns are proving to be thorns for the sitting MLA.

"He has become inaccessible. He is no longer in touch with the grassroots. And he will have to pay for it with his seat," said Nyamo Odyuo, who was among the close associates of M Kikon in his last two election campaigns.

Odyuo has now shifted allegiance to the Naga People's Front and is busy canvasing support for its candidate, Achumbemo Kikon.

A Kikon was defeated by M Kikon by 254 votes and 312 votes in 2013 and 2018 state polls respectively.

While the defeated candidate was from the NPF on both occasions, M Kikon had won on a Nationalist Congress Party ticket in 2013 and had later joined the saffron party.

"We had worked with M Kikon when he was with the NCP and again when he moved to the BJP. We are still not against the BJP. But giving the ticket to him again made us move our support to the NPF candidate," the NPF president of Bhandari legislative assembly constituency added.

The BJP legislator's supporters are of a different opinion and claim that their candidate will be the one having the last laugh.

"Of course, our candidate is winning. His margin will go up drastically this time from what we can gauge from the people's response," maintained N Shungdemo Kikon, the chief of the BJP mandal for the Bhandari legislative assembly constituency.

The party's local office is filled with banners and flags of the BJP, with youth members busy sorting through the bundles and preparing to despatch it. Bamboo poles are also being cut and readied by in the courtyard for affixing the party flags.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is among the star campaigners scheduled to canvas for M Kikon even as the legislator is busy himself pleading for votes, the party workers said.

Attempts by PTI to reach Kikon over Whatsapp and telephone for his reaction went unanswered.

A veteran voter of the constituency who wished not to be named claimed that the religion card and role of terrorists was also being played.

"One section is saying that the BJP is a Hindu party and the NPF is using its contacts in the church to reach out to the voters. The church has a good hold, so when they say something it will definitely make some impact," he claimed.

He also maintained that candidates could restore to use of threat from militants to influence voters at the eleventh hour.

"We just hope that the people realise what and who is good for them and they vote accordingly," he added.

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Sushmita Goswami in Bhandari
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