Former Chief Minister of Nagaland and BJP alliance NDPP’s candidate for Nagaland Assembly election 2017 Neiphiu Rio was declared the winner of the North Angami-II constituency without any EVM buttons being pressed – a lone candidate, an unopposed winner and the first legislator of Nagaland, without any elections.

No EVM buttons were pressed, the election campaign had just begun and the elections in Nagaland were scheduled on February 27, 2018. Yet, we have the first legislator of the state of Nagaland. The former CM of Nagaland and newly formed regional party Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party’s (NDPP) candidate Neiphiu Rio was declared as the unopposed winner of from the Northern Angami-II Assembly constituency of Kohima district after his lone rival Naga People’s Front (NPF) nominee Chupfuo Angami withdrew his nomination on Monday. The Election Commission declared the ‘result’ of the Northern Angami II constituency after the withdrawal of Angami, who is also Rio’s brother-in-law.

Last week, BJP ended its 15-year-long alliance with NPF and joined hands with the NDPP, providing a spine to the NDPP in Nagaland. On the last date for withdrawal, a total of 32 candidates had withdrawn their tickets from the Nagaland Assembly elections, leaving 195 candidates in fray for the polls on February 27. As per the data provided by Chief Electoral Officer of Nagaland, contesting parties for upcoming elections include – the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) from 58 seats, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) from 40 seats, the National People’s Party (NPP) from 25, the BJP from 20, the Congress from 18, the JD(U) from 13, the NCP from 6, the AAP from 3, the LJP from 2 and 11 independent candidates for the 60-seat constituency.

However, Northern Angami-II Assembly constituency of Kohima district, Neiphiu Rio has already scored an unopposed poll on NDPP ticket. The three-time former chief minister Neiphiu Rio has jumped back in political game after a gap of almost four years and he re-entered with a bang. No polls will be held in the constituency of Kohima district. An unopposed victory may be extraordinary, but for Nagaland, it is symbolic of the state’s fractured and tumultuous political history that this is not the first time anyone, or even Rio himself, has been elected this way.