In what could be a departure from the past trends, battle for Naga People's Front (NPF) tickets is likely to be either quite rancour-free or nonexistent, at least in two of Ukhrul's three assembly segments.
This time around the party leadership is probably going to be free from any hassles in issuing tickets for 45-Chingai assembly constituency as Khashim Vashum of Tusom CV has emerged the lone candidate, so far, to seek the NPF ticket.
That Khashim Vashum is emerging as the favourite to get favour of NPF leaders came to the fore when hundreds of his supporters, well wishers and public from contiguous villages of northern Raphei converged at Tusom CV playground and pledged their support for him on Sunday during a mammoth blessing ceremony organized by the local village authority at his birthplace.
The function was significantly marked by invocation of divine blessing by a group of village chiefs and chairmen of Raphei area led by local headman Rathing Zimik. Earlier in the morning, a special blessing program was also held at Tusom CV Baptist Church.
Headman Zimik called upon the villagers to extend their unwavering support and asserted that Vashum has emerged as an aspiring candidate because of his unremitting commitment as well as mass support.
Addressing the mammoth gathering, Khashim Vashum, while stating that he and his family owed immense gratitude to his village folks for their unfailing support, remarked that with the blessings from his village he would proceed to carry out his planned activities in different villages within the electorate in the ensuing days.
"By the grace of God and with your blessing, if I am given a chance, I have clearly set my priorities," Vashum said and explained that he felt compelled to do his mite for the cause of the Nagas whose decades- old political struggle is drawing closer to a settlement.
Stating that since 1680, India fought against the British for more than 300 years until it ultimately attained independence in 1947, Vashum stressed that Nagas should not lose hope but concertedly strive harder for the vision.
Asserting that unemployment and poverty are areas of serious concern, Vashum said that these crisis have proved to be a stumbling block to development of the tribal people and vowed to address them on priority basis.
He then declared that he does not represent only Raphei but the whole Chingai, and appealed all to support him in the coming elections that he might serve the people without any greed or selfishness.
Many supporters and well wishers including village chiefs, chairmen of New Tusom, Tusom Khullen and other neighbouring villages also declared their support for Vashum. Leaders of NPF, social organizations, social activists and many others also attended the programme.