Poll campaign picking up pace in Nagaland

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Kohima, Feb 10 (UNI) The campaign for the Nagaland Assembly elections, scheduled for March 5, was gradually picking up pace as various national, regional and local parties geared up to garner support for their candidates.

The Nagaland Peoples Front (NPF), the major coalition partner of the ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) government, with their star campaigner former chief minister Neiphiu Rio, had been organising rallies at various places in Kohima and Phek district.

The NPF declared a list of 55 candidates for the 60-member Assembly elections and the list was likely to be the final, as they had left five seats for their DAN coalition partner candidates.

The main rival of the NPF-- the Congress was yet to kickstart its campaign, although some national leaders were expected to arrive in the state to woo the voters.

The Congress had already declared its list of candidates for all the 60 seats of the Assembly constituencies.

One of the partners of the DAN coalition, the BJP, had also declared the list of its candidates for 24 seats throughout the state and it was likely to be their final list.

Meanwhile, the BJP was also yet to start its campaign, although national spokesman Rajiv Pratap Ruddy had informed that the party would bring star campaigners, including party president Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Venkaiah Naidu, Hema Malini and Navjot Singh Sidhu to canvass in the Northeastern state.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) also declared a list of eight candidates while the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) would contest on seven seats.

The Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) also fielded two candidates.

Meanwhile, several veteran Congress leaders, including former Speaker Zoveho Lohe, had left the party and joined other parties, following non-issuance of Congress tickets.

Mr Lohe had already started campaigning for the NPF in Phek district.

UNI AS DPM RD SBC YA KP1200

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