Former chief minister Neiphiu Rio was declared elected unopposed to the Nagaland Assembly as his opponent withdrew his nomination today, the last date for withdrawal, Chief Electoral Officer of the north-eastern state Abhijit Sinha said.
A total of 195 candidates are in the fray for the February 27 Assembly election, after the withdrawal of nominations, as of the 257 documents submitted by 256 candidates till February 7, 32 withdrew their papers while 29 documents were declared invalid, he added.
Three-time former chief minister Neiphiu Rio, who is returning to the state politics after a gap of almost four years on an NDPP ticket from the Northern Angami-II seat of Kohima district, is the only declared uncontested candidate. Rio's opponent, NPF nominee Chupfu-o, withdrew his papers.
The contesting parties for the ensuing election are -- the ruling Naga People's Front (NPF) from 58 seats, the Congress from 18, the BJP from 20, the JD(U) from 13, the National People's Party (NPP) from 25, the NCP from six, the AAP from three, the LJP from two, the newly-floated Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) from 40 seats, while there are 11 Independent candidates.
The Nagaland Assembly has 60 seats.
Alemtemshi Jamir is the only candidate who will be contesting from two seats -- Angetyongpang and Mongoya -- on NDPP tickets.
Incumbent Chief Minister T R Zeliang is seeking re- election from the Peren seat, which will witness a triangular contest, also featuring Iherie Ndang of the NDPP and Independent candidate Kengim Kulimbe.
The Tuli Assembly constituency in Mokokchung district has the highest of seven candidates.
As many as 52 sitting MLAs of the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) are seeking re-election.
Five women candidates, the highest in the state polls so far, are also in the fray.