Heavyweights hit campaign trail in Nagaland

Campaigning gained momentum in Nagaland for the February 23 polls with political heavyweights of Congress and BJP as well as Naga Peoples Front (NPF) star campaigner Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio criss-crossing the state.

Commencing with the arrival of AICC President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on February 7 last in Mokokchung and Dimapur districts, the Congress campaign gathered steam in the last eight days as Rahul Gandhi addressed the electorate in Mon and Tuensang, two remotest and backward districts.

With the national party trying to reverse the trend of last two elections which it lost, it has roped in the service of veteran leader and Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde who will address three rallies in Kohima, Peren and Mokokchung districts tomorrow.

With the election dates fast approaching, BJP has brought in party's Mahila Morcha national president Smriti Irani to campaign for the only woman candidate from Tuensang Sadar-II seat, Rakhila on February 12 and in Wokha and Dimapur districts.

Of the two woman candidates among the 188 in fray for the assembly polls, BJP is the only political party fielding a woman while the other candidate Yangerla contests from Mokokchung Town. BJP national spokesperson and deputy leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad also campaigned in Dimapur district and Tuli in Mokokchung district. BJP national President Rajnath Singh will be

campaigning in Tizit of Mon district on February 19. Singh is likely to be last BJP national leader campaigning in Nagaland.

Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is the overall star campaigner for the ruling Naga Peoples Front (NPF), the only party to field candidates in all the 60 seats. NPF President Dr. Shürhozelie, who had vacated the present seat Northern Angami-I for his son Khriehu Liezietsu is also accompanying Rio to some districts, but mostly concentrating in state capital, which has seven seats.

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