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Nagaland Assembly election: To contest or not, state BJP unit in a bind

Even as the Election Commission kickstarted the formal election process for the February 27 Nagaland Assembly election, the state BJP unit refrained from issuing party tickets under pressure from insurgent outfits who are in peace talks with the Government of India.

Written by Kallol Dey |
Updated: January 31, 2018 6:28:32 pm
BJP state unit in catch-22 ahead of Nagaland Assembly election The state BJP unit has refrained from issuing party tickets ahead of the Nagaland Assembly election on February 27.

The Nagaland unit of the BJP seems to be caught in a Catch-22 situation — facing coercion on home turf to not participate in the February 27 polls,  and the central unit’s decision to contest despite the call for a “solution before elections”.

Even as the Election Commission has kickstarted the formal election process, the state BJP unit has refrained from issuing party tickets apparently under pressure from insurgent outfits that are in peace talks with the Government of India and civil society organisations. Sources in the Nagaland BJP said the party convened a meeting early Wednesday, and after a three-hour long discussion, formed a team to rush to New Delhi on Thursday to make the central leaders understand its predicament.

Earlier on Tuesday, sources said the state BJP leaders were called for a meeting by the working committee of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) — a conglomeration of six insurgent groups —  who “urged” the Nagaland BJP to adhere by the declaration signed by all political parties on Monday to not participate in the election process “in the larger interest of the Naga people.”

A handwritten “assurance” note by Nagaland BJP president Visasolie Lhounghu, purportedly given to the NNPGs and circulating on local WhatsApp groups, reads: “The BJP Nagaland State unit, on our own volition, ensure the Naga people that till 12 noon 31st Jan.2018, we would refrain from issuing party tickets even if central command directs us to do so.”

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On Monday, 11 political parties in Nagaland, including BJP, had signed a joint declaration on the stand of “solution before elections” at the behest of the core committee of civil organisations and seven Naga underground groups. Later on the same day, the BJP state unit suspended former minister and state executive member Kheto Sema who had been authorised to attend the meeting but apparently “not authorised to sign any document.”

Following the signing of the declaration, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju who is in charge of Nagaland polls, said elections will be held as per schedule.

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First published on: 31-01-2018 at 03:21:16 pm

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