“I consider the situation of the constituency to be practically a straight contest between me and Deputy CM”- NSN Lotha
Deputy CM Y Patton has won three consecutive elections from the 37 Tyui AC since 2008. He won from the BJP in 2008, the NPF in 2013, and the BJP again in 2018 by more than 5000 votes, except in 2008, when he won by 837 votes.
However, Patton will face arguably his toughest electoral challenge in this election as he faces JD(U) Nagaland president Senchumo NSN Lotha, who was once the president of Naga Students’ Federation and is now a major roadblock to Patton’s supremacy in the 37 Tyui A/C.
On February 8, 37 Tyui AC witnessed one of the largest rallies, led by Patton on one side and NSN Lotha on the other, and ultimately became one of Nagaland’s most intense competitions.
Despite the fact that 37 Tyui AC has two more candidates: an independent Hayithung Tungoe Lotha and Y Kikon of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the real competition is between Deputy CM Y Patton and NSN Lotha.
“I consider the situation of the constituency to be practically a straight contest between me and Deputy CM. As far as the other candidates are concerned, I am sure they will have their own story to tell,” NSN Lotha told Mokokchung Times.
NSN, who believes he is banking on the “good will of the people” and their desire to see a change in leadership in his constituency, has focused his efforts and endeavors on winning the hearts of those who want a change.
Speaking on how people think he is the toughest competitor for Patton, NSN stated, “Well, I don’t think and consider myself as someone who blows his own trumpet. I am humbly trying to reinstate my own position at the mercy of the people’s goodwill.”
NSN, whose personal theme of contest is ‘back to the village for self-sufficiency’ shared his ideas that, “Because we are a rural-based society, if the rural folks are self-dependent, then naturally that will talk about the success of the person.”
“At the same time, as far as our party is concerned, our main theme is ‘Development with Justice’. We will bring development with justice that is not concentrated in one pocket, but rather spreads evenly throughout the constituency,” he added.
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In response to the claim that he has severed ties with Chief Minister Rio, he stated, “I am a politician affiliated to a different political party. Hon’ble Chief Minister is a politician affiliated to his own party. We are fighting against each other because they have a pre-poll alliance with BJP. Therefore, when BJP and NDPP are in alliance, indirectly I am fighting against the NDPP too. Therefore, the relationship between me and the Chief Minister does not arise over here.”
The JD(U) leader further called JD(U) supremo Nitish Kumar an honest man with integrity and supplemented Anil Hegde’s “honest statement that Mr Rio has been one politician who has contributed the most as far as the Naga political journey is concerned” in terms of an overground politician.
Speaking on the anti-incumbency wave that has purportedly hit the constituency, NSN said, “The people are the best judge. They know what the present incumbent has done within the last fifteen years. They are the best witness to his activities so, therefore, after having watched closely, the disappointment of the people have grown and that has made up the number and size of the anti-incumbency of this constituency,”
How is Patton dealing with the anti-incumbency wave?
Meanwhile, one of Patton’s close associates told Mokokchung Times, “Anti-incumbency is prone to come, especially when people have been in the chair for a long time. Some people will undoubtedly be disappointed, but I am confident that if given the opportunity, Dy CM will ensure that everything works out fine.”
The associate went on to say that the Deputy Chief Minister had visited many villages in the constituency, where people had expressed their concerns and sorrows, and that the Deputy Chief Minister had listened to the people and was confident that things were turning around in his favor.
“Our Deputy CM has roped four ex-candidates and four ex-MLAs to his side and now they are all rallying on his side. JD(U)’s NSN is a former NSF President and the president of JD(U) Nagaland and is also from a village with maximum voters. The election result is yet to be seen, but it will not be an easy fight. However, because Patton is a veteran politician from the ruling party, he will easily turn things around in his favor,” Patton’s associate said of NSN’s challenge.
According to sources, the 37 Tyui AC has over 25,000 voters and is divided into three different ranges: Nyiro, Englan, and Chukitong.
“NSN is from the Chukitong range, which has about 7000 voters, while our Dy CM is from a range with about 10,000 voters. Obviously, some people will engage in clan politics, but the story of 37 Tyui AC and how it votes is distinct from that of other constituencies,” the associate added.
He went on to say that Patton is well-liked by the public because of his wit and warmth.
“Our deputy CM is a witty politician. He makes people laugh. He has dynamism; his love for the people is so evident. He is a very open-hearted person and someone who does not keep anything in his mind which has often landed him in trouble. But these are the qualities which people appreciate and the reason why people want him to continue,” he said.
Patton, from 2003-2018 has constructed blacktopping, white topping, council halls, village gates, footsteps, sub-centers and retaining walls of various villages, including a community hall in Chukitong block, among many others. However, it remains to be seen whether his contribution to the constituency is sufficient to keep him in his seat.