Kohima, Jan. 31 (EMN): The Election Commission of India (ECI) has on Jan. 31 issued the statutory notification for elections to the 60-member 13th Nagaland Legislative Assembly. The gazette comes amid appeals from tribes and civil organizations to defer the elections.
Now with the assembly elections having being placed to gazette, the formal election process begins. The nomination period also commences following the notification on Wed. However, it was learned that no nominations were filed till 3 pm.
According to an official from the Election department, some nomination forms were collected but none of them was filed. The nomination period will close on Feb. 7, 3:00 pm.
‘NPF will not offer govt. formation as gift to any party’
The Naga People’s Front (NPF) is still standing by the Jan. 29 joint declaration of political parties and civil organizations to forgo issuing party tickets and filing nominations. But the party’s president, Dr. Shürhozelie Liezietsu, made it clear on Wed. that if any party ‘retreats from the declaration and files nominations, the NPF also will go in to fight the election.’
Talking to reporters during the sidelines of an event in Kohima on Wed., Liezietsu said that the NPF will not go against the wishes of the Naga people. But it will not allow any party to ‘simply’ form the government as a “free gift” without other parties putting up a contest. He said that the party had spelled it out to the civil organizations spearheading the current movement that if something good for the Naga people comes out of the joint declaration, it would be ‘good.’ But if any political party backtracks, the NPF will ‘not repeat the mistake it made in 1998.’
In 1998, the NPF was one of the many political parties that heeded to the Naga Hoho’s call to abstain from participating in the assembly election then. The state’s Congress party, however, had gone ahead to file nominations ultimately to sweep almost all the constituencies to form the government. Consequently, the ECI derecognized the NPF for not participating in the polls and the party’s symbol got frozen.
Liezietsu, who was the party’s president then, and still holds the position, had expressed earlier in the week his apprehension to the civil bodies during a meeting—the NPF is wary and it will analyze the situation before taking the ultimate decision. He reportedly said that should the CCNTHCO fail to stop political parties from participating in the polls, the NPF will not stand back and give the parties ‘free government’ this time.
Liezietsu informed that the NPF was geared for the elections although its tickets were yet to be issued. In case the NPF goes ahead for the polls, he said the party may not field candidates in all the 60 constituencies. “We might have to give away one or two seats,” he said without specifying the constituencies.
Nominations: NPP to wait for BJP
The National People’s Party’s (NPP) Nagaland President Ato Yepthomi has maintained that the party does ‘not want to repeat the history of 1998 state assembly elections.’ The NPP will go ahead with filing nominations if the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ‘breaks out and participate.’ Yepthomi said that the party was looking at fielding at least 15 candidates for the assembly elections although he did not specify the constituencies.