A reluctant campaigner

Days before Nagaland's Assembly elections on February 23, Naga People's Front candidate, Khriehu Liezietsu's sprawling bungalow compound in the heart of Kohima was a flurry of activity.

The bungalow's drive was lined with cars parked bumper-to-bumper; NPF flags fluttering on their hoods. Supporters and party workers milled inside the house and out on the grounds. Steaming cups of chai did the rounds of various rooms, which were converted into makeshift war rooms. And in the midst of this frenetic bustle was 31-year-old Keviselhou Sekhose Liezietsu's chief election agent.

A friend of the family, Sekhose, who was initially reluctant, was roped in as the chief election agent after the election date was notified in the last week of January.

"I initially didn't want to do it. That's because in a state like Nagaland, politics has a certain tarnished image. The common man does not think well of those who are in it and those who work for politicians. There is an idea in Nagaland that politics and elections mean money, guns and gundagardi," he says. His wife too was not happy at all when the offer was made. "My wife was completely opposed to it. She is a very religious woman and in her mind, politics and corruption go hand in hand."

Over the last month, Sekhose set up teams of his own. A law graduate, he roped in "some of my lawyer friends" to help him in his work. "My own work comprises representing the candidate and attending all meetings on his behalf. These include meetings that the election office holds, usually held by returning officers of Chief Election Commissioner's office. We have to go through training sessions with them on things like permissible expenditure, election accounts, handling postal ballots etc.," he says.

Sekhose has two teams working under him. One is a legal team which ensures the candidate faces no legal problems and handles cases that may come up. "Fortunately we haven't faced a single legal case and have had no legal problems so far," he says.

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