The Congress in Nagaland is banking for its revival on the man who broke the party 15 years ago.
Kewekhape Therie, 64, president of the Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee, is now tasked with the uphill mission to get the party back on track. Prior to the 2003 Assembly election, Mr. Therie plotted the downfall of the party in Nagaland. His friend then was Neiphiu Rio, who went on to serve as Chief Minister for 11 years before being elected MP in 2014.
The two were Ministers in S.C. Jamir government from 1998 to 2003, but they quit the party and founded the Naga People’s Front (NPF) by reshaping the regional Naga People’s Council. But Mr. Therie fell out with Mr. Rio and rejoined the Congress in 2007.
The 2008 election was the beginning of the end for the Congress in Nagaland, though the party won more seats than the NPF. The final nail came in November 2015 when all its eight legislators (2013 polls) joined the NPF.
Around the same time, Mr. Therie was made NPCC president.
“We have had a tough time, but we hope the people have taken note of rampant corruption all these years to give our candidates, most of them fresh faces, a chance,” Mr. Therie told The Hindu .
But he is aware the party, having fielded only 20 candidates, might not be in a position to call the shots.
The Congress had given ticket to 23, but local people prevented two from filing papers, while underground groups allegedly threatened the third to stay indoors.