Now Nagaland poll panel urges Naga body not to abstain from local body polls

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Now Nagaland poll panel urges Naga body not to abstain from local body polls
Kohima: After the Nagaland government, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Saturday urged the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation (ENPO) not to abstain from participating in the urban local body (ULB) elections scheduled on June 26.

Since 2010, the ENPO has been demanding a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland Territory’, or a separate state, comprising six eastern Nagaland districts — Kiphire, Longleng, Mon, Noklak, Shamator, and Tuensang.

It recently announced to abstain from participating in the ULB polls in support of its demand.

The Naga body had also boycotted the elections to the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state on April 19.

The SEC said on Saturday that the Commission is of the view that the method adopted by the ENPO to express its stand needs a reasoned reconsideration.

“The Commission requested the ENPO to reconsider its stance of asking citizens to abstain from participating in the ULB elections. The Commission would ensure that all polling processes shall continue as per the schedule,” the SEC said in a statement, confirming that it had received ENPO’s letter on May 16.

The Commission also said that voting is a constitutional right of every eligible citizen.

The SEC said that the matter of ULB elections in Nagaland has been under the supervision of the Supreme Court with notice of contempt issued to several entities in the state, adding that any attempt to disturb or disrupt the electoral process by any individual or organisation in violation of the court orders would potentially have serious legal ramifications.

“It is hoped that through these elections, the people in the municipality areas would be able to freely and willingly participate in exercising the constitutional right to vote and/or to contest as is deemed necessary to discharge the vital functions of local self-governance,” the Commission said.

After a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, the Nagaland government on Thursday urged the ENPO not to boycott the ULB polls.

However, the ENPO on Friday rejected the Nagaland government’s appeal and remained firm on abstaining from participating in the ULB elections, to be held with 33 per cent reservation for women.

ENPO Secretary W. Manwang Konyak told IANS: “We have to go by the decision of our grassroots level people. We would abstain from participating in the ULB polls.”

Konyak also said that the ENPO had, on March 19, adopted a unanimous resolution that the people of the region would not participate in any central or state elections due to the delay in creating the Frontier Nagaland Territory (FNT), as offered and assured by the Ministry of Home Affairs on December 7, 2023.

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