The ruling NDPP and opposition Naga People’s Front have kicked-off their by-poll campaign for the lone Lok sabha seat in Nagaland on a fierce note, leveling charges and counter charges, increasing political temperatures in the state that had received a fractured mandate in the just concluded Assembly elections.

Addressing a rally in Dimapur on Tuesday, NDPP leader and Chief Minsiter Neiphiu Rio lashed out at the NPF for branding the BJP as communal and anti-Christian. Rio said that the NPF had no right to call itself a regional party as it had already allied with both the Congress and the BJP.

Urging people to vote for the NDPP candidate Tokheho Yepthomi, Rio said that it was time for the people of Nagaland to work together by supporting the People’s Democratic Alliance government so that it could fulfill its objectives of bringing about an all round change in the state.

Putting out a long list of his government’s initiatives in the past two months since coming to power, Rio said that the Nagas have to unite for an inclusive solution to the Naga problem and have appealed to all rebel groups including the NSCN-K to join the peace process.

The NPF on its part too launched its election campaign in Kohima today with Former Chief Minister and NPF leader TR Zeliang blaming Rio for foisting the election on the people by jumping into state politics and quitting his Lok Sabha seat.

Zeliang too did not miss the chance of claiming that the NPF was the real organic regional party and accused the NDPP of being primarily engaged in protecting the BJP in Nagaland.

NPF President Dr Shurhozeilie said C Apok Jamir was the right candidate to represent the people in Nagaland. He too came down heavily on his rivals and said the NDPP and BJP are in a symbiotic relation.

Addressing the rally, NPF candidate Apok Jmair said that the mandate is already in favor of his party. He said at the just concluded Assembly polls, the people had given mandate in favour of the NPF but the government was formed by NDPP.

With allegations and counter allegations flying thick and fast, the voters in Nagaland will have to work hard to apply their mind and decide as to which party candidate should represent the in the LS until the next elections in 2019.