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Nagaland polls: ‘Clean election’ campaign comes under cash, booze attack

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    Kohima, Feb 19: It's festival time in Nagaland as the state is all geared up to vote for the upcoming Assembly elections on February 27. In order to make the entire democratic process free and fair, the church and anti-corruption crusaders have join hands to start the "Clean election" campaign in Nagaland.

    Unfortunately, the campaign has come under the attack of free flow of cash and booze in the state. So far over Rs 50 lakh in cash, 40,000 litres of liquor and drugs have been seized, Nagaland chief electoral officer Abhijit Sinha said recently.

    money

    The Election office has deployed flying squads and static surveillance teams to check the use of money and other means to induce voters.

    The Nagaland Baptist Church Association (NBCA) has been campaigning for a clean election appealing to the electorate not to demand money or any other form of materialistic support for voting but elect an upright representative.

    "The whole corruption process starts during the election times. Voters are enticed by political parties and candidates by bribing them with cash, booze and drugs. It is a sad reality of Nagaland. In the past, often candidates who spend the most emerge triumphant in elections," said a Kohima-based anti-corruption activist.

    "We want to change the trend and have started the 'Clean election' campaign headed by the NBCA . Hope we can make some impact to end free flow of money, booze, drugs and gifts during the elections," he added.

    The activist's concern regarding power of money during elections is not unfounded. According to a study titled, Post Election Watch, done by YouthNet, a youth-based non-profit organisation, a staggering amount of Rs 937,82,67,500 was spent in the 2013 Nagaland Assembly elections by 188 candidates contesting for 60 seats. 

    "The study revealed that an approximate amount of Rs 569,96,00000 was spent to buy votes and muscle power during the 2008 elections. It further stated that 11 candidates spent between Rs 20-40 crore, among whom eight won the elections and three lost. The average amount spent per household was Rs 10,000-20,000, the study claimed," reported The Indian Express.

    Altogether 195 candidates comprising 58 of the ruling NPF, 18 Congress, 20 BJP, 39 NDPP, 25 NPP, 13 JDU, 6 NCP, 3 AAP, 2 LJP and 11 Independents are in fray for the 59 seats. NDPP's chief ministerial candidate Neiphiu Rio has already won from the Northern Angami-II seat.

    With less than a week left for campaigning in poll-bound Nagaland, candidates were seen wooing the electorate by holding rallies after church services were over in the Christian-dominated state.

    In the state capital, Kohima, such rallies were being organised in the evenings to enable people attend it after the day's work.

    Along with Nagaland, Meghalaya Assembly elections are also scheduled on February 27. The Assembly elections in Tripura were held on Sunday. The results of all the three Assembly elections will be declared on March 3.

    Nagaland Assembly
    Party 2013 Current Standing  
    NPF 38 45 Election Date : Feb 27 2018
    Counting : Mar 03 2018
    IND 08 08
    CONG 08 00
    NCP 04 01
    BJP 01 04
    JDU 01 01
    OTHERS 00 00
    Total 60 59 (1 Vacant)

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