As the clock ticks down to November 7, the competition for the 43 Tapi Assembly Constituency seat in Nagaland is heating up. In this closely watched race, the NDPP-BJP alliance has thrown its weight behind candidate Wangpang Konyak, with Rajya Sabha MP and Vice President of the Nagaland BJP, Phangnon Konyak, spearheading the campaign.
In a rival show of strength, the opposition, led by the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) President Supongmeren Jamir, has headed to Tapi on Friday to campaign for their candidate, Wanglem Konyak.
The Tapi Assembly Constituency, known for being unique and historically held by the late Noke Konyak for a decade, is on the cusp of a significant transformation. This constituency, reportedly comprising 15 villages, will see a new representative elected for the first time in many years.
Wangpang, the NDPP candidate, hails from Mon village, boasting over two thousand registered voters, while the Congress candidate Wanglem comes from Tangyu village, with slightly more than 3000 enrolled voters. Although the Congress party may seem to have the upper hand, their primary challenge lies in the financial and political muscle wielded by the ruling NDPP.
The campaign trail in Tapi has witnessed the presence of prominent figures, with Nagaland Chief Minister Rio actively campaigning for the NDPP candidate just three days ago. Reports indicate that in nearly every one of the 15 villages, the state government’s ministers and advisors have been canvassing for the NDPP, including the recently elected BJP President Benjamin Yeptho.
Interestingly, the NPCC views this heavy campaigning as a positive sign, interpreting it as a signal that the NDPP may be feeling the pressure. The growth of the INDIA alliance at the national level, coupled with Congress’s recent electoral successes in South India and the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, Kargil election, has generated significant mileage for the Congress party.
Insiders within the Tapi Assembly Constituency reveal that the competition is ‘neck to neck’, with voters seemingly evenly split between the two camps. The balance of power now rests with a little over 2000 swing voters who could sway the election in favor of either side. In this closely contested battle, the deployment of resources and political influence is expected to play a pivotal role.
Should the NPCC emerge victorious, it would mark their first electoral win in a decade and an opposition bench in the Nagaland Legislative Assembly in years. The stakes are high as Tapi Assembly Constituency and Nagaland by extension awaits its political fate on November 7.