Kohima, Jan 30: Finally, the demand of tribal bodies and civil society organisations prevailed as all the Naga political parties--both regional and national--on Monday unanimously decided to boycott the upcoming state Assembly elections.
The political parties have decided not to field any candidates for the upcoming polls. The decision to boycott the elections is based on the popular sentiment that the Centre should first resolve the seven-decade long Naga political problem before conducting elections for the 13th state legislative assembly.
The elections for the 60-member state Assembly are slated on February 27. Earlier this month, the Election Commission (EC) announced poll dates for three Northeastern states--Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura.
While Nagaland and Meghalaya elections are scheduled on February 27, voting will take place in Tripura on February 18.
After 11 political parties in the hill state decided to boycott polls in the presence of leaders of several influential tribal organisations at an all-party meeting in Kohima, the state capital, a joint statement was issued by them.
The declaration signed by politicians of all parties reads: "We firmly believe that it is expedient for all the political parties, both national and regional, to come together in the greater interest of the state in solidarity with the call (of) 'solution before election' and defer the elections to the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly and allow the Naga political process to reach its logical conclusion by giving space and time to the negotiating groups to bring out an early solution.
"And, therefore, we the undersigned on behalf of all the political parties and the intending candidates have, in compliance with the wishes of the people, decided not to go ahead with the issuance of party tickets or filing of nominations.
"This declaration has been made in the presence of apex tribal hohos (bodies) and civil society organisations."
The political parties, part of the election boycott brigade, are--Naga People's Front (NPF), which is a major constituent of ruling Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN), BJP, Congress, Nagaland Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, National People's Party, United Naga Democratic Party, Nagaland Democratic People's Party, Nationalist Congress Party, Lok Janshakti Party and Janata Dal (United).
Reports were doing the rounds that the political parties in Nagaland were likely to boycott polls, especially after Naga Hoho, the state's apex tribal organisation, warned that it would not "allow the elections".
The National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) (NSCN-IM) has been engaged in peace talks with the Centre since 1997 when it announced a ceasefire agreement after a violent insurgency movement.
In 2015, the Naga peace accord was signed between the Centre and the NSCN-IM. Since then residents of Nagland have been hopeful that peace will finally arrive in the state.
In the recent times, especially after assurances from central leaders, including Centre's interlocutor in the Naga peace talks RN Ravi, there has been a renewed hope for lasting peace in the state.
However, after the election date was announced recently, all their hopes were dashed to the ground. The people of the state feel that once again they are being cheated as the peace process got postponed in the wake of elections.
The powerful tribal bodies and civil society organisations have been demanding signing of the Naga peace deal before the elections. With the latest declaration of boycott of elections, political uncertainty prevails in Nagaland.
|NPF||38||45||Election Date : Feb 27 2018 |
Counting : Mar 03 2018
|Total||60||59 (1 Vacant)|