By-poll and militant influence

The political atmosphere for the coming by-election to the Khonsa west assembly constituency in Tirap district is heating up. This seat fell vacant after sitting MLA Tirong Aboh along with 10 others was killed on 21 May by suspected NSN (IM) militants. Though the election date is yet to be announced, the politics have truly begun. Chakat Aboh, the wife of late Tirong Aboh, has resigned from her government job and is expected to fight the election. Phawang Lowang of the BJP has also announced his intention to enter into the fray. The allegation of involvement of underground groups is once again coming to the fore.
Locals alleged that a group in the name of Naga Army (Ollo) has issued a dictate urging people to vote for Phawang Lowang and warning of consequence if people fail to do so. Though Lowang has denied his involvement in it, the dictate has the possibility of further vitiating the atmosphere. In the run-up to the 2019 assembly election held in April, Tirong Aboh had alleged that the NSCN (IM) was interfering in the election and had appealed to them not to do so. There is every possibility that various factions of Naga militant groups will try to dictate terms in the bye-election. The state government should not allow this to happen. The people of the Khonsa West assembly constituency should be given the opportunity to elect a leader of their own choice. The government is duty-bound to conduct free and fair election. The Naga militant groups should not interfere in the election process. They can in fact play a very positive role by letting the people to freely choose their own representative.