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Nagaland Assembly elections: With deadline looming, NPF candidate becomes first to file nomination papers

With elections to the 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly dogged by uncertainty, the filing of nomination papers holds significance as 11 political parties in the state had signed a joint declaration on January 29 to not contest the elections.

Written by Kallol Dey | Dimapur |
Updated: February 7, 2018 12:49:26 am
Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu of the Naga People’s Front (left) filing his nomination papers today. (Source: Express photo)

With a little over 24 hours remaining for the filing of nominations, Kuzholuzo Azo Nienu of the Naga People’s Front (NPF) on Tuesday became the first to file his papers for the February 27 Nagaland Assembly polls.

Nagaland chief election commissioner Abhijit Sinha confirmed to indianexpress.com around 1.20 pm that the home minister was in the process of filing his nomination from the 19 Phek AC.

Minutes later Dr Nicky Kire, who had recently joined the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), was reported to be filing his nomination papers from Kohima Town AC.

The deadline for filing of nomination papers expires at 3 pm on February 7, and till February 5 none of the candidates contesting for the 60-seat state Assembly had filed their nomination papers.

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With elections to the 13th Nagaland Assembly dogged by uncertainty, the filing of nomination papers holds significance as 11 political parties in the state signed a joint declaration on January 29 to not contest the elections.

The core committee of civil organisations and tribal bodies and also the Naga insurgent groups had declared that anyone contesting the elections against “the wishes of the Naga people” would be branded as “anti-Naga.”

But the lukewarm response to the statewide bandh called by the Core Committee of Nagaland Tribal Hohos and Civil Organisations (CCNTHCO), and supported by the Naga insurgent groups, ensured that the electoral process remained on track.

Even as the news of nomination filing trickled in, the CCNTHCO was holding a closed-door meeting in Kohima with representatives of the political parties which had signed the joined declaration not to contest elections.

As the ‘solution before election’ drama unfolded in Nagaland, every political party, except for the BJP, declared that their candidates wouldn’t file nominations unless the others do so first.

The Nagaland BJP which was the first to backtrack on the no election pledge was thrown into chaos over differences with its central leaders on the issue of contesting the polls.

Earlier this morning, Nagaland BJP campaign committee in-charge, M Chuba confirmed that BJP candidates would start filing nominations as the BJP is a national party and adheres to the constitutional process. He attributed the delay in filing nominations to late declaration of candidates.

Unconfirmed reports stated that altogether 17 candidates, including a few heavyweights, have filed papers by the end of the penultimate day of filing nominations. In Dimapur, only Jacob Zhimomi contesting on BJP ticket from Ghaspani-1 AC, had filed nomination by 3 pm today.

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