Nagaland Election: Independent candidates share their experience

Morung Express News 
Dimapur | February 25

With the countdown to the polls for the Nagaland State Assembly elections, independent candidates, Dr Neisatuo Mero from Pfutsero AC and Talitsuba Imchen, Koridang AC share their experiences as first timers into a race dominated by major political parties.

Speaking with Dr Mero, a doctor by profession and contesting against incumbent MLA, Neiba Kronu of Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and Vivolie Kezo, Naga People's Front (NPF), revealed to The Morung Express that his preparation began 7-8 months back. 

“This was my dream long time back and so it has been a good experience so far,” he said. A native of Pfütseromi village, his interest in politics began back in 2003. His motto, ‘For Change and Progress,’ has him pledging to work for improvement in education, health facilities, agriculture and horticulture sector as his top priorities. Apart from these, he also took into account women empowerment, employment avenues for youth entrepreneurs and providing alternative sources of power such as solar technology. 

“But since I am a doctor, my main priority will be on the health sector in particular as I feel that my constituency needs it the most,” he added.  

For Talitsuba Imchen, native of Longkhum village said his passion for working with the youths in the field of education as a teacher, motivated him to provide a better future for them as their intending representative. Contesting from Koridang AC, which includes incumbent, Imkong L Imchen of Bharatiya Janata Party, Major Toshikaba (Retd) Naga People's Front, T Chalukumba Ao, Janata Dal (United) he noted that it has been an uphill task. Commenting on election related violence in his constituency; he admitted that it was deeply regrettable and unfortunate. “As a first timer, I did not expect such things to happen,” he commented. 

In regard to his vision statement, centred on youth empowerment, he honed in on skill development for self-reliance, innovation-cum-education and tourism as his primary goals. Along with improving the agriculture sector as the area has a promising potential. “I want to work towards ensuring that education is not limited by socio-economic status alone, and that the pursuit of knowledge is rewarded rather than punished,” he said. 

Declined the offer of party tickets

For Mero and Imchen, both candidates were initially offered tickets by several of the political parties. However, they stated that they declined to do so after thorough consideration with their respective groups. 

“After due consultation with my advisors, I decided that I would stand alone as an independent,” Mero said. At the same time however, he mentioned that if elected, he will be supporting the ruling government in the legislative assembly. 

As for Imchen, he noted that, “From the very beginning, I wanted to enter politics as an independent candidate.” 

Current position in the race

With Pfutsero AC containing 20,753 voters and Koridang AC with 21592 voters respectively, both candidates asserted that they were confident in their position and support base. “Right now I am confident from the support of the voters,” Mero said. Sharing the same sentiment, Imchen also put trust in his supporters to get through the election. 

Nagaland will go to poll on February 27 to elect its new members for the 14th Legislative Assembly.