Correspondent DIMAPUR, May 31 - Tokheho Yepthomi, consensus candidate of the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance, won the by-election to the lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland, defeating the Opposition Naga People’s Front (NPF) candidate, C Apok Jamir, by a margin of 1,73,746 votes.
According to information available from the office of the Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer, Yepthomi polled 5,94,205 votes, while Jamir secured 4,20,459 votes. A total of 3,991 voters had opted for the ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) option.
The counting of votes began at 8 am in all the election district headquarters across the State and ended at around 5.30 pm.
Yepthomi is a member of the PDA’s major partner, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), led by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio. The PDA comprises the NDPP, BJP, National People’s Party, JD(U) and an Independent.
Both Yepthomi, a former minister, and Jamir, a former parliamentary secretary, had unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly elections.
The by-poll to the Nagaland Parliamentary constituency was held on May 28 with a voting percentage of 86.73 as per the final figures from the Nagaland CEO’s office. Out of the total 11,97,436 voters, around 10,38,536 voters exercised their franchise on the polling day.
The Lok Sabha by-poll was necessitated after Chief Minister and NDPP leader Neiphiu Rio resigned from the Lower House of the Parliament to contest the Assembly elections held on February 28.
The Opposition NPF and the Congress had joined hands to give a combined fight to the ruling PDA candidate. However, they suffered a major setback, specially the NPF which had gone all out to win the by-poll to recover some lost ground.
The NPF won 26 seats in a House of 60 in the last Assembly elections, emerging as the single largest party.
Another significant aspect is the coming together of two political stalwarts – NPF president Dr Shurhozelie Liezetsu and Congress veteran Dr SC Jamir. C Apok Jamir is SC Jamir’s son.
The pre-Assembly poll partners, NDPP and BJP, won 18 and 12 seats respectively, with their joint tally standing at 30. Post-election, with the support of two National People’s Party MLAs, one JD(U) legislator and the lone Independent, the NDPP-BJP combine formed the Government under the banner of the PDA.
The by-election is being seen as a crucial test for the general elections due early next year.