The February 27 Nagaland polls won’t not be hampered by the joint declaration by political parties to stay away and there will be no change in the schedule, state Chief Electoral Officer Abhijit Sinha said today. A total 11 political parties, including the ruling Naga People’s Front (NPF) had yesterday declared not to contest the elections agreeing to the demand of tribal bodies and civil society groups to resolve the protracted Naga political problem first.
The decision was taken at a meeting called by the Core Committee of Nagaland Tribal Organisations and Civil Societies (CCNTOCS), and attended by representatives of the 11 parties including the BJP, Congress, JD(U) and 7 Naga Nationalist Political Groups (NNPGs), a PTI report said. “There is no other way but to hold the elections,” he said and expressed hope that “nothing will be done to vitiate the process”.
“Though officially we have not been informed, we are aware of the outcome of yesterday’s meeting. But the election process will not get hampered and we are going with the publication of the official notification tomorrow … The schedule will not be changed,” Sinha told a press conference here this evening. He said that despite the declaration, four political parties – NPF, BJP, JD(U) and Congress – participated in the meeting called by the state election department during the day despite the CCNTOCS appeal to the political parties to stay away from it.
The BJP has backed out of the joint declaration saying it was up to the party’s central leadership to take a call on the issue and suspended its state executive council member Kheto Semaparty, who had signed it. Sinha appealed to the people of the state not to do anything to vitiate the process of election.
On the demand by tribal organisations for solution to the Naga political issue before election, he said, “Our department and the EC are following a constitutional mandate and legal requirement to elect a new assembly before the term of the present house comes to an end on March 13.” The election department, he said, is fully prepared for the polls. Filing of nominations will begin with the notification tomorrow and continue till February 7. The last date of withdrawal is February 12.
Votes will be counted on March 3 and by March 5 the entire process of election would be completed. He said that the state has 11,89,264 voters, adding that there are a total 2,194 polling stations spread over the 60 constituencies.