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‘Missing’ NPP candidate in Nagaland withdraws from polls upon return

After a day of drama amid claims of abduction, the National People’s Party candidate for the Aonglenden Assembly seat in Nagaland appeared in front of the district election officials and announced that he is withdrawing in favour of the ruling People’s Democratic Alliance.

The NPP claimed he was pressured by leaders of the ruling alliance.

The high stakes by-election to the seat of around 12,000 voters spread in three villages and four wards is scheduled simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls on April 11.

“O Tinu Lkr, the NPP candidate, has withdrawn his candidature,” confirmed Abhijit Sinha, the chief electoral officer, Nagaland.

In a letter released to the media, O Tinu said he withdrew to strengthen the hands of the PDA and to support the candidate of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party.

“He has withdrawn in favour of the NDPP. He seems to have been influenced and the election is not going to be free and fair,” alleged Sasank Gahatraj, the General Secretary of NPP, Nagaland.

In another development, Naga People Front’s candidate Toshipokba also withdrew in favour of the NDPP.

“This is nothing short of betrayal. We will take disciplinary action,” said Achumbemo Kikon, the spokesperson of the NPF.

Meanwhile, on March 26, the president of the NPP, Nagaland wrote to the Election Commission of India claiming foul play over the way Lkr had gone missing and requested an immediate enquiry. The NPP’s district president of Mokokchung wrote to the district police claiming Lkr may have been abducted.

Lkr, meanwhile, visited Kohima on March 26 before returning to Mokokchung.

Earlier, the NPP’s decision to field candidates for both the by-poll and the Lok Sabha poll had led to its two MLAs joining the NDPP in protests.

The NDPP spokespersons could not be contacted despite various attempts to reach them.

First Published:
Mar 28, 2019 20:00 IST

Source: HindustanTimes