No decision yet on Khonsa West candidate: Gao

[ Tongam Rina ]
ITANAGAR, Sep 7: State BJP president Tapir Gao has said no decision has yet been taken as to who will be made the BJP’s candidate for the Khonsa West constituency in Tirap district.
The seat has fallen vacant after the NPP’s Tirong Aboh was murdered along with 10 others on 21 May.
Speaking to this daily, Gao said the central and state leadership would take a decision on whom to field after the election is notified.
He said that Chakat Aboh, the widow of Tirong Aboh, has approached him. Phawang Lowang is also seeking the BJP ticket.
“It would be good if there is a consensus among the people and the intending candidates as to who should represent Khonsa West,” Gao said.
In June this year, members of the legislative assembly, cutting across party lines, had proposed the name of Chakat Aboh for Khonsa West. Later, Chief Minister Pema Khandu had said that an all-party meeting would be held to work out a proposal to get Chakat Aboh elected uncontested.
However, the meeting is yet to be held.
Chakat Aboh, who was a government employee, has already resigned from her job. Her supporters say that she should represent the constituency. On the other hand, Phawang Lowang, who was the BJP’s candidate in the April 2019 election, told this daily that he is getting ready to contest as a BJP candidate.
Aboh had defeated Lowang in the legislative assembly election held on 11 April by more than a thousand votes.
“We already had a meeting on 8 July in Lazu, where the people of Lazu circle chose me as a consensus candidate,” Lowang said.
“I have to respect the decision of the people,” he said, adding that the chief of the Lazu area, besides public leaders and gaon burahs, have endorsed his candidature.

A dictate seeking votes for Lowang

Meanwhile, a dictate issued in the name of the Naga Army (Ollo) is being circulated, directing the Ollo people to vote for Phawang Lowang unconditionally, and stating that no other candidate should be put up by individuals or groups.
The group has said that failure to comply with the “pre-warning shall be taken seriously, including eternal punishment.”
Lowang denied that he had a hand in the decision. “It’s a fake organization,” he said, adding that he does not know any of the signatories.
On the other hand, people say that one Mokwang Rumchu of Longbo village is one of the close workers of Lowang. He, however, dismissed the claim and said it was an attempt to discredit him.
By-election has to be held within six months after a seat falls vacant.