KOHIMA: Ruling People's Democratic Alliance today decided to field former minister Tokheho Yepthomi to take on opposition Naga Peoples Front (NPF) nominee C Apok Jamir in May 28 by-poll for lone Lok Sabha seat of Nagaland.
The bypoll has been necessitated due to vacation of the seat by Neiphiu Rio after becoming Chief Minister of Nagaland.
The official declaration and formal handing over of the party tickets to both the candidates were held here today.
Both the candidates will file their nomination tomorrow, it was announced.
Speaking on the occasion, CM Neiphiu Rio said being in the government, the PDA consensus candidate has the advantage of winning the polls but he called up all alliance partners not to be complacent as the opposition though not strong has 26 elected members, which is a good number.
He also called upon the 36 elected representatives of PDA and all those defeated candidates of the February state assembly election to take care of their respective constituencies.
Maintaining that the ensuing election will bring the PDA partners closer while it will be a test for them, Rio said we should work hard for PDA not only complete this term but also provide a stable government to the people of the state for development and progress.
Deputy Chief Minister Y Patton, State BJP President Visasolie Lhoungu, JD(U) Minister G Kaito Aye and Independent Minister Tongpang Ozukum asserted their fullest support to the consensus candidate.
In his acceptance speech, Tokheho, a veteran politician asserted that going to Parliament he would take up the Naga political issue for an early solution as the state has been lagging behind because of the unresolved issue.
He also clarified that the by-poll was necessitated as Rio had to resign as MP because the state and people was going through bad times under then NPF government and his service was required here.
At the NPF ticket distribution ceremony, Leader of Opposition, T R Zeliang said the bye-election for the lone seat was compelled upon the Naga people because of the misadventure of former MP and incumbent Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio.
He lamented that Nagas were not represented in Lok Sabha for the last more than three months, during a period when Naga political issue is at its peak because of Rios resignation.
Expressing that NPF and the Nagas in general are forced to face the extraordinary situation and premature LS bye-election, he said NPF being the single largest party in the assembly, all the elected members and defeated candidates should come together to sent the party candidate to Delhi.
NPF president Shurhozelie Liezietsu said the bye-election is an opportunity for the party to go to the people once again and share the guiding principles and objectives.
In his acceptance speech, Jamir expressed confidence that with the support of the NPF elected members and also the Naga people he would win the by-poll.