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Nagaland bypolls: Primary school teacher elected uncontested by newly formed Opposition-less govt

While Yimchunger, a 44-year-old primary school teacher from Sangphur village, is a new name in Nagaland’s political landscape, he has been working for people at the grassroots level for the past few years.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: October 29, 2021 11:56:33 am
Nagaland bypolls, Nagaland news, Nagaland teacher elected, Nagaland primary school teacher, Indo-Myanmar, NDDP candidate S Keoshu Yimchunger, Assam news, Indian expressWhile Yimchunger is a new name in Nagaland’s political landscape, he has been working for people at the grassroots level for the past few years.

While nine assembly constituencies in the Northeast (five in Assam, three in Meghalaya and one Mizoram) gear up for bypolls on October 30, the tenth seat in Nagaland already has a winner. Last week, the National Democratic Progressive Party’s (NDPP) candidate S Keoshu Yimchunger took oath as the MLA of the Shamator-Chessor constituency in the eastern district of Tuensang, after he was elected to the seat unopposed.

Bypolls were necessitated in Shamator-Chessor, located close to the Indo-Myanmar, after NDPP MLA Toshi Wungtung passed away in July.

With the newly formed “Opposition-less” United Democratic Alliance (UDA), it was decided that a “consensus candidate” would be supported by all parties.

In September, Opposition party, Naga People’s Front (NPF), officially joined hands with the Neiphiu Rio-led People’s Democratic Alliance (PDA) — which comprises the National Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), with the support of the BJP and two Independents — for an early settlement to the Naga political problem.

“NPF decided not to contest and BJP did not field a candidate because the seat was meant for the NDPP as per a pre-poll alliance agreement,” said a BJP member from Nagaland.

“We decided not to contest to ensure there is peace and tranquility between all the parties and in the spirit of the recent Opposition-less government. Moreover the MLA who passed away was also from the NDPP, so out of respect we decided not to contest,” said Kuzholuzo Nienu, member, working committee, NPF.

This paved the way for Yimchunger, a 44-year-old primary school teacher from Sangphur village.

While Yimchunger is a new name in Nagaland’s political landscape, he has been working for people at the grassroots level for the past few years, said Kekongchim Yimchunger, a local leader from Shamator Chessore and former president form Eastern Nagaland people’s organization.

On why they selected Yimchunger, Obed Quinker, NDPP, General Secretary, said that the party worked on the principle of “allegiance and loyalty”. “We like to focus on people at the grassroots.Yimchunger is a people’s candidate and a social worker and thus, was a natural choice,” he said.

Yimchunger grew up in difficult circumstances, even working as a helper in a hotel to make ends meet. While he was not directly involved with any political party, the 44-year-old said he actively supported Wungtung (who was in the same village) in the last 2018 elections. “Thus, many NDPP leaders know and support me,” Yimchunger said, adding he was engaged in social work in his village — whether it was helping the poor to get admission in schools, or timely medical treatment. “I joined politics because I realise this is the only way to emancipate poor, rural masses. My constituency falls in a very remote, rural area. As an MLA, I will continue to work for the upliftment of people here,” he said.

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