United by family, divided by parties in poll-bound northeastern States

Many are contesting against close relatives and even siblings in the Northeast

February 11, 2018 10:32 pm | Updated February 12, 2018 12:46 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang

Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang

Family and clan are important for ethnic communities in Northeast India. The Assembly elections this time appear to have made a difference in several constituencies.

Rivalries between candidates from same families have intensified in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland.

In Meghalaya, Aanamika J.G. Momin is contesting as an Independent against her aunt Agatha Sangma of the National People’s Party (NPP) for the South Tura seat.

Ms. Momin, 27, is the granddaughter of Teresa A. Sangma, sister of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A. Sangma. Ms. Agatha Sangma, 37, a former MP, is his daughter.

‘Time for change’

“Family connections cannot be ignored, but I have a responsibility towards the people of the South Tura constituency who have been deprived of development for ages. It is time for young people, not veterans, to change things,” Ms. Momin said.

In another instance, Donkupar Massar and his wife, Grace Mary Kharpuri, are in rival camps. Mr. Massar is the NPP candidate for the Ranikor seat and Ms. Kharpuri is contesting the Pynursla seat on the People’s Democratic Front ticket.

 

In Nagaland, the former Chief Secretary Alemtemshi Jamir is the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) candidate for the Mongoya seat. His brother Metsubo Jamir is the Naga People’s Front (NPF) candidate for the adjoining Mokokchung Town seat.

In Tripura, the sons of the former Minister Munsur Ali, Baharul Islam and Mujibar Islam, are in rival camps. Mr. Baharul is contesting the Buxanagar seat on the BJP ticket and Mujibar is the Congress nominee for Sonamura.

In some cases, members families have stayed together. Nagaland Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang and his brother N.R. Zeliang are NPF nominees for Peren and Tening.

Likewise, Lok Sabha member and former Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio is the NDPP candidate for the Northern Angami-II seat and his brother Zhaleo Rio is the party’s nominee for the Ghaspani-II seat.

Meghalaya has incumbent Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and his wife Dikkanchi D. Shira as Congress nominees. The former is contesting two seats – Ampati and Songsak – and the latter is seeking re-election from Mahendraganj.

The CM’s brother Zenith Sangma is the Congress nominee for the Rangsakona seat. Mr. Zenith’s wife Sadhiarani M. Sangma is making her debut for the party from Gamgegre.

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