Uncertainty continues in Nagaland after political parties decide to boycott assembly polls
The election notification will be announced on January 31, and polling is scheduled to take place on February 27. The Nagaland assembly’s tenure expires on March 14.india Updated: Jan 30, 2018 20:18 IST
Uncertainty prevailed over the Nagaland assembly polls on Tuesday, a day after 11 political parties decided to boycott it in view of the ongoing Naga peace deal talks.
All the prominent political parties in the state, including the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Congress, initially decided against contesting the polls until a “final solution” to the deal was found. They did this in keeping with the wishes of influential tribal and civil organisations in the state.
The BJP, however, backed out of the agreement soon afterwards. The party also suspended two leaders who had attended the meeting called by the core committee of Naga Hohos and civil organisations (CCTNHCO), stating that they were “not authorised” to do so.
The gazette notification for the election will be announced on January 31, and polling is scheduled to take place on February 27. The Nagaland assembly’s tenure expires on March 14.
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, who is also the BJP’s election in charge for Nagaland, said on Tuesday that “boycotting the elections cannot be a solution” to the issue. “The government of India attaches utmost importance to the long-pending Naga issue. We believe that (the conduct of) a peaceful election in Nagaland will facilitate the ongoing peace talks and strengthen our commitment,” he said.
The Centre had signed a framework agreement with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) in 2015 on the Naga demand for the creation of a Greater Nagalim, which will include all Naga-inhabited areas in the northeast. However, details of the agreement are yet to be made public. With the Centre initiating talks with six more rebel outfits late last year, hopes of a lasting and acceptable solution to the demand is expected.
Meanwhile, influential tribal organisations, civil society groups and political parties urged the Centre and the Election Commission to refrain from holding polls at this juncture as it could upset the peace talks. The Nagaland assembly also passed a resolution supporting the ‘solution before election’ demand in December.
On Tuesday, 10 legislators of the ruling NPF resigned from the assembly in support of the boycott call.
The CCTNHCO has even threatened to launch an indefinite strike across the state from February 1 if the election commission goes ahead with issuing the notification for polls.