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Cong calls for poll deferment

- Political wrangles dominate as elections approach

Kohima, Jan. 11: The Congress, which is fighting the Assembly elections with the Naga political issue as the main poll plank, is singing an old chorus: “We want solution, not election”.

The “solution not election” line is old wine in a new bottle as non-Congress parties used it ahead of the 1998 Assembly polls while demanding deferment of the elections. The Congress, however, had defied their call and gone ahead with the polls, which turned out to be cakewalk for the party. As a result, chief minister S.C. Jamir was branded “anti-Naga”.

The same Congress is allegedly calling for deferment of the state Assembly polls, which have been scheduled for February 23.

Leaders of the ruling party, however, have begged to differ.

Nagaland PCC vice-president Nillo Rengma said they were not singing their opponents’ old chorus, as the situation then was different from what it was today. He said non-Congress parties had called for a poll boycott in 1998, while the Congress was asking for deferment of the elections so that a solution to the Indo-Naga political problem could be hammered out.

The BJP, which was part of the 1998 campaign, said this time, political parties were leading the call for deferment of polls by six months to pave the way for a solution of the Naga political problem, while in 1998, the call was made by Naga organisations and was supported by political parties, excluding the Congress.

Former finance minister and convener of the Congress political affairs committee K. Therie said Naga organisations and political parties had called for boycott of polls within a year of signing of the ceasefire agreement between the Centre and the NSCN (I-M) without giving time for discussion between the two negotiating parties.

He said 16 years of negotiations, however, were long enough to resolve the issue.

He said the elections were not a priority but solution of the Naga problem was.


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