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Nagaland polls: Centre hopeful of nominations soon

No papers for state polls filed till Monday after 11 political parties said they won’t participate

Written by Sushant Singh , Samudra Gupta Kashyap | New Delhi/guwahati |
February 6, 2018 4:50:15 am
Nagaland, Centre, NDA govt, Nagaland assembly elections, Nagaland nominations, India news, indian express news February 7 is the last day for filing of nominations for the Nagaland Assembly elections.

The Centre is hopeful of the stalled election process in Nagaland taking off “within the next 24-48 hours”, when it expects candidates from various parties to start filing their nominations.

No nominations were filed by any of the candidates until Monday evening. Eleven political parties had issued a statement in Kohima last Monday that they would not participate in the polls “in the larger interests of the Naga people”. The declaration was signed in accordance with the popular demand of various Naga groups of having a “solution before election”.

It would be unprecedented in India’s democratic history to have a state election being deferred or cancelled after notification because no candidate has filed her nomination.

February 7 is the last day for filing of nominations for the Nagaland Assembly elections.

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As per sources close to officials dealing with Naga groups, “some movement on elections is expected within the next 24 hours. You will see something happening then.” They said that candidates of ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF), BJP and its ally, Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP), are set to file nominations once a breakthrough has been achieved.

The BJP and NDPP, which tied up two days ago, were the first to declare that they would contest the election, with the NPF and Congress following suit.

“Our candidates will be filing their nomination papers on Tuesday and Wednesday,” said James Vizo of the state BJP. The BJP is contesting in 20 of the 60 seats, while its ally NDPP will be contesting in the remaining 40 seats.

The NPF too has instructed its candidates to file their nomination papers on Tuesday and Wednesday. “District committees have been authorised to finalise their respective candidates by Monday night,” party chief Shurhozelie Liezietsu said from Kohima.

Centre’s interlocutor for the peace talks, R N Ravi, has been in Nagaland for the past few days and is believed to be in touch with civil society groups, including Core Committee of Naga Tribal Hohos and Civil Organisations (CCNTHCO). Following Ravi’s letter to CCNTHCO last Saturday, it seems to have softened its stance about the boycott of elections.

The CCNTHCO on Monday said it was up to the parties whether to honour their pledges or not. “The CCNTHCO is not the sole authority with powers to force anyone to refrain, be it a political party or an aspiring election candidate, from participation in the electoral process. Every Naga is part and parcel of the social and political mess and none can escape from it,” CCNTHCO in a statement issued in Kohima said.

In his letter, Ravi had said, “I am aware of the prevailing situation in Nagaland over the forthcoming elections to the Legislative Assembly. I am sensitive and respectful to the Nagas’ popular sentiment for an early solution. The negotiating parties are trying their best and have made significant progress in the last three years. I would like to assure the Naga people that the ongoing Peace Process has not and shall not be affected by this election.”

While appealing to all parties to respect “aspirations of the Naga people”, CCNTHCO had reiterated on Saturday that it “will not use force to come in the way of any individual’s conscious decision to exercise one’s choice in the larger interest of the people”. It had also clarified that it is not against election or constitutional process but is only appealing “to halt the election”.

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